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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Meets Sunny Murray

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Sonic Liberation Front--the inheritors of both Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago's traditions--teams up with jazz legend, drummer Sunny Murray, to create both a studio and live recording. The music continues SLF's dedicated effort to mine the percussive traditions of Afro-Cuban, Yoruba/West Africa, and American-fostered free jazz. The percussion-heavy band's previous release, Change Over Time (High Two, 2006), included some electronic flavors. Here, the sound is all acoustic, with free jazz drummer Murray providing the inspiration for the album's eight tracks. Best-known for his time in both Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler's band, Murray adds his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Change Over Time

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Twelve musicians play in the Sonic Liberation Front on Change Over Time, but only three appeared on the group's previous release, 2004's critically acclaimed Ashe a Go- Go, including musical directors Kevin Diehl and Chuckie Joseph. As you would expect from a band led by drummers, the music leads with an African/Cuban/Caribbean percussive attack that reminds you of David Murray's work with the Gwo-Ka Masters, Fela's blend of ripping saxophone, multiplicity of drums and hypnotic vocals--and, when they talk trash and funk it up on the title track, the Rebirth Brass Band. SLF sprinkles a bit of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Change Over Time

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There are a lot of elements to this music--too many, in fact--and they gel only intermittently. Percussion workouts, vocals, the overt use of Pan-African music, and horn solos all vie for attention, but after a few listens, many of them just seem to fade into the background.

The programme starts well enough with “The Next Thing That Happens," but over the course of its four minutes, its promise far exceeds its realisation, and the Ornette Coleman-esque line of the horns proves largely to be an end in itself. Dan Scofield on alto sax has a sadly brief opportunity to show ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Ash A Go-Go

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At Satalla in late January, Sonic Liberation Front delivered a rousing set that was representative (almost song-for-song) of the group's new album, Ashé A Go-Go. Their second release since forming in 2000, Ashé continues the Front's compelling combination of Afro-Cuban batá drumming from the Nigerian Yoruba tradition with angular horn melodies in the style of Ornette Coleman and others. The group opened the set at Satalla with the album's title track, written by percussionist Kevin Diehl, which features a melody for unison horns reminiscent of Coleman's “Lonely Woman. Heard live, the rhythmic interplay of the three batá drums--the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Ash

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Sonic Liberation Front, led by percussionist Kevin Diehl, straddles the space between Afro-Cuban music and free jazz. The music on the group's second release, Ashé a Go-Go , is filled with infectious primitive rhythms, but what Diehl layers over those beats is another beast entirely. Utilizing an up to four-piece horn section over the percussion and bass, Diehl puts to work some of the lessons learned from his studies with free jazz drummer Sunny Murray, and demonstrates that one can blend two seemingly disparate styles into a cohesive whole.

The compositions are more about rhythm and harmony than they are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Ash A Go-Go

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To the Yoruba people of West Africa (and their Cuban relations in the new world), the very spirit of existence is a primordial life force known as Ashé. Together with a group known as the Sonic Liberation Front, drummer Kevin Diehl has very consciously tapped into this energy. The group's first record, 2001's Water and Stone , was a widely acknowledged idiosyncratic landmark, drawing from both Afro-Cuban roots and the jazz tradition. Ashé A Go-Go continues in a similar vein, hanging its weight on the same hooks.

Those hooks include a brief touch of ambient electronics, nearly constant ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonic Liberation Front: Water and Stone

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With its fist of power, the Sonic Liberation Front asserts freedom from authority. While the group's icon might suggest some kind of militant defiance, their approach is really much more positive and focused at heart. Drummer Kevin Diehl's group brings together a variety of approaches: from interlaced Afro-Cuban percussion, to African-American swing and free jazz traditions, to post-modern adaptations of electronica. While such an unusual combination of elements might suggest cacophony or hopelessly pithy density, it's remarkably successful. The key to making this comingling of styles work is vision, and that quality is present in abundance on Water and Stone. ...



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