Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Coming Home Jamaica
"Mama Wants You," the longest of the album’s pieces at over twelve minutes, allows room for a few solo stretches by Mitchell and Bowie. The saxophonist moans and wails in blues fashion to a swinging backdrop, but never heats up. Bowie quotes a few favorite classic bop tunes, wanders through a comical, whining trumpet routine, and plays the acrobat by switching back and forth rapidly from one microphone to the other. Similarly, on "Malachi" Mitchell switches instruments, alternates microphones, and extracts contrasting sounds from his saxophone to provide a welcome assortment. With the keyboard playing block chords on two & four, and the ensemble combining a simple folksy melody over odd percussion noises, the light mood of "Strawberry Mango" reminds us that this ensemble appreciates humor in music. Similarly, "Lotta Colada" presents a straightforward calypso theme wrapped in a core mainstream arrangement. Although the fires of intensity never do light up, the Art Ense! mble’s latest album swings and provides a pleasant session that is easily accessible to most readers.
Track Listing: Grape Escape; Odwalla Theme; Jamaica Farewell; Mama Wants You; Strawberry Mango; Villa Tiamo; Malachi; Lotta Colada.
Personnel: Lester Bowie- trumpet, flugelhorn, bass drum; Roscoe Mitchell- soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, sopranino sax, flute, piccolo, bamboo sax, bamboo flute, percussion (bells, gongs, woodblocks, chimes, whistles, etc.); Malachi Favors- acoustic bass, percussion (bells, whistles, etc.); Famoudou Don Moye- trap drums, congas, bongos, timbales, bass pan drums, bendir, percussion (bells, tambourines, maracas, chekere, etc.); Bahnamous Bowie- keyboard on "Strawberry Mango".
Record Label: Atlantic Jazz