Joseph Jarman: As If It Were The Seasons (2007)
Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Joseph Jarman was one of the first musicians who became part of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). One of the goals of the Association was to create music of a high artistic level. Jarman had been doing that and he fit right in. He was in Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band and had played with Malachi Favors and Roscoe Mitchell.
Jarman formed his own group in 1966, recording two albums, the second being As If It Were The Seasons (Delmark, 1966).
On this reissue of that second release, Jarman uses the quartet setting of string player Charles Clark, percussionist Thurman Barker and vocalist Sherri Scott for the title track. Jarman comes in on the fife, soft and almost discernible. Clark augments the bells and drums with his cello, and the pace is unhurried. The quartet lets space have as much impact as its instruments, and sound veers in and out of emptiness. But the appeal is constant. When Jarman picks up the alto saxophone, he grabs the melody, lets it drift, pulls it back into focus and then turns it around as he bends it and lets it loose. Scott is dynamic, her voice casting shadows and light in song, and packing an emotional wallop.
The quartet is expanded into a nonet on "Song for Christopher." The adventure continues in a whirligig, the horns locking in, drums fluttering, the piano slipping within. The spinning rhythmic motifs testify to the understanding between the musicians. Intensity and sweetness make for companionship, but it is the former that finally holds sway. In the midst of the free-for-all Fred Anderson's burly tenor rises, drawing the band into the vortex and establishing the highpoint with its mighty sweep.
Track Listing: As If It Were The Seasons and Song To Make The Sun Come Up; Song For Christopher.
Personnel: Joseph Jarman: alto saxophone, bassoon, fife, recorder, soprano saxophone; Charles Clark: bass, cello, koto; Thurman Barker: drums, percussion; Sherri Scott: voice; Muhal Richard Abrams: piano, oboe (2); Fred Anderson: tenor saxophone (2); John Stubblefield: tenor saxophone (2); Joel Brandon: flute (2); John Jackson: trumpet (2); Lester Lashley: trombone (2); All Personnel: bells, gongs, harps (2).