Marty Ehrlich: Things Have Got To Change (2009)
The Coleman sensibility, though, is clearly filtered through the music of Julius Hemphill: three of the compositions are his and the influence is heard in the instrumentation. While Friedlander can readily substitute for bass, his cello echoes the role of Abdul Wadud in Hemphill's band, most notably in the concluding version of Hemphill's "Dogon AD." Ehrlich's own tunes share the evocative power of Hemphill's and can touch on bop and chamber music, often in close proximity. The 11-minute "Some Kind of Prayer" is elegiac, moving at a slow tempo from a surprisingly orchestral beginning through moments of deep sorrow to an insistent resolution with the burred sound of trumpet at the conclusion. Elsewhere, there's sudden drama in the rising figure that initiates the moody "From Strength to Strength."
This is often collective creation and Ehrlich's clarity is a valuable quality in a musician so fond of counterpoint, alto and trumpet dovetailing together into new territory on the themes. Ultimately one is less impressed by Ehrlich's execution than by the emotional depth that he consistently summons up, his quartet acting as a perfect extension of his sensibility. The spare simplicity of akLaff's drumming is a special triumph here, another emotionally eloquent voice. This is significant music with a strong sense of lineage, a band that combines rare articulation with a strong sense of purpose.
Track Listing: Rites Rhythm; Dung; Some Kind of Prayer; On the One; Slices of Light; Song for Tomorrow; From Strength to Strength; Dogon AD.
Personnel: Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone; James Zollar: trumpet; Erik Friedlander: cello; Pheeroan akLaff: drums.
Record Label: Clean Feed Records
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde