Louie Belogenis: Unbroken / M41: The Orbit of Sirius
Tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis traces his roots to Coltrane and Ayler explicitly, having recorded as a duo with drummer Rashied Ali and in Prima Materia, a band led by Ali that has recorded album-long interpretations of Meditations and Bells. His agenda is the same (transcendence) and his vocabulary is similar (ecstatic), but Belogenis builds to his explosions, rather than exploding right out of the box. In this respect, he resembles Pharoah Sanders most. Backed by bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and drummer Kenny Wollesen, the rhythm section frequently establishes modal grooves and repeated bass vamps that induce a mild hypnosis before Belogenis' tenor smears away the pleasantry. Blumenkranz and Wollesen shake bells and tick and chime like a grandfather clock while Belogenis' tone is alternately hoarse and whispery, high-pitched and urgent and smooth and mystical, with a touch of vibrato. Belogenis has been a sideman for too long: his outstanding trio proves they can play in a tradition established by rarified company.
M41 (Andrew Lamb / Chris Parker / Alvin Fielder)
The Orbit of Sirius
Substituting piano for bass, M41 is a tenor sax trio with a twist. Pianist Chris Parker is no stranger to this instrumental lineup, having recently recorded with downtown alto legend Henry P. Warner in the Vibrational Therapists. This time, drummer, respected teacher and registered pharmacist (just in case) Alvin Fielder is the elder statesman and reedman Andrew Lamb brings the horns. Lamb is a burly, physical player and he and Parker respond and resist in tandem over the course of the disc. Fielder hits his drums hard, rolling across his kit and crashing his cymbals, spurring Lamb ever higher. Parker is impressively versatile, his notes cascading or dropping like darts from a blowgun. The track titles indicate a cosmic, celestial vibe, given overt expression when Parker makes his electric piano sound like a spacey church organ. In addition to tenor, Lamb even puts some muscle into his flute and, on one track, leads the swingingest conch shell feature ever.
Tracks: Transmission; Duende; Fat Tongue; Bells Canto; Shanir; Rashied; Hymn for the Forgotten; Oasis of Dreams; Bel Canto
Personnel: Louie Belogenis: tenor sax; Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: bass, bells; Kenny Wolleson: drums, bells; Beth Anne Hatton: bells
The Orbit of Sirius
Tracks: Sagala; Digitaria; Chandrasekhar; Canus Major/Minor; Nebiru; Dogon Blues; Isis; Ark-Sun; Nommo's Ark; Canicula; Procyon; Orbits on Drum Conversation; Po & Tolo
Personnel: Andrew Lamb : tenor sax, flute, conch shell; Chris Parker: acoustic and electric pianos; Alvin Fielder: drums and percussion