Hang Time consists of music written and performed by two student ensembles at the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts: Group Giz, an octet directed by trumpeter Greg Gisbert, and Group Gunn, a septet presided over by pianist Eric Gunnison. The CCJA is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth to creatively express themselves through the language of jazz." Drummer Paul Romaine serves as the Conservatory's artistic director. Aside from its reassurance that the future of jazz rests on a solid foundation, at least in and around Denver, Hang Time is quite well played and a pleasure ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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, AshÃ© 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 ...read more
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 ...read more