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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: The Great Lakes Suites

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Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith is on something of a recording roll lately, with The Great Lakes Suites coming hot on the heels of 2013's Occupy The World, and 2012's Ten Freedom Summers on the TUM and Cuneiform labels, respectively. To these ears, The Great Lakes Suites is the prize among prizes. Drum icon Jack Dejohnette is back with Smith, and multi-instrumentalist Henry Threadgill joins long-time bass associate John Lindberg for a thrilling program of extended compositions featuring each player in generous detail. Right off the bat, “Lake Michigan" finds DeJohnette stirring an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: Great Lakes Suites

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Two of the most enduring voices avant-garde jazz belong to trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and reedman Henry Threadgill. Smith's The Great Lakes Suites, six of his distinctive compositions on a two CD set, teams the two icons inside the equilateral quartet that includes drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist John Lindberg. It sounds like a dream team, and it is. DeJohnette has played on Smith's Golden Quartet, Lindberg has joined the trumpeter in a variety of contexts, groups large and small. Threadgill is new to the fold. All the groups members--with the exception of Smith--were born and grew up ...

INTERVIEWS

Wadada Leo Smith: I'm A Dreamer

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As dreamers go trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith lies at the more serious end of the spectrum. Not for him dreams that fade with the daylight, as evidenced by the realization of his epic Civil Rights inspired Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012). Smith actually composed the first piece of what developed into a 21 piece magnum opus back in 1977, which demonstrates prodigious staying power to see it through to completion in 2012. Once released, the work generated remarkable acclaim for its tremendous scope, consistency of achievement and weighty emotional impact. Widely nominated in best of year lists, it is likely ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers at London Jazz Festival 2013

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Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers: London, England, November 21-23, 2013 Wadada Leo Smith Café Oto London November 21-23, 2013 As part of the London Jazz Festival, over three consecutive evenings, Dalston's Cafe Oto presented the European premiere of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers magnum opus. Although such a groundbreaking production might be more expected in one of the large auditoriums on the capital's South Bank, the goodwill built up over series of residencies and dates in town over the last four years resulted in the concerts taking place in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Angelica Sanchez/ Wadada Leo Smith: Twine Forest

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Legendary trumpeter, educator Wadada Leo Smith is a very active neo- jazz iconoclast with appearances as a guest artist and co-leader or when producing critically acclaimed albums such as his resplendent civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers (2012, Cuneiform Records). Partnering with nascent jazz pianist Angelica Sanchez--a member of Smith's Golden Quartet and Organic bands-- signals an intriguing proposition. With the trumpeter's bronze-toned proclamations and paramount sense of authority, Sanchez is at times nestled in a supporting role as she effectively comps, shadows and shades his strapping choruses while also supplying the rhythmic impetus. Linked with an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Angelica Sanchez/ Wadada Leo Smith: Twine Forest

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As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango." It certainly does, and it also takes two to make beautiful music together. Pianist Angelica Sanchez and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith produce abundant beauty from Sanchez' compositions on Twine Forest. Smith's recordings have ranged from large ensemble work-- Silver Orchestra, Organic, and his electric-Miles Davis tribute band with Henry Kaiser Yo Miles!--to intimate duos with Louis Moholo-Moholo Ancestors (TUM, 2013), Jack DeJohnette America (Tzadik, 2009), Anthony Braxton Organic Resonance (Pi Recordings, 2003), and Ed Blackwell The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer (Kabell, 2010). With Sanchez, Wadada is ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wadada Leo Smith: Occupy the World

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Great trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith's five epic extended compositions collected on the double album Occupy The World mark him as a major American composer with a musical language and artistic vision that transcends the boundaries of the Afro-American heritage of jazz. Smith wrote complex orchestral works before, most notably on the masterful, extensive 4-discs Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012), that addressed political and historical issues still, the expanded and rearranged works represent a new musical triumph within the already large body of compositions of this prolific and gifted musician. Smith's confounded complex written segments were ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith & TUMO: Occupy The World

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Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith continues to challenge preconceptions. With Occupy The World, he exposes another facet of his orchestral music; more expansive than his stunning Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012) and less earthy than Hearts Reflection (Cuneiform, 2011), it's still part of a long lineage of large group works stretching back to Budding Of A Rose (Moers Music, 1978) and Lake Biwa (Tzadik, 2004). Finland's TUM Records invited Smith to present five of his works in the capital of Helsinki, with the specially convened 22-strong TUMO (or Todella Uuden Musiikin Orkesteri: in English, the Really New Music Orchestra), drawn from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith and Tumo: Occupy the World

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Trumpeter, composer and multi-instrumentalist Wadada Leo Smith's career has been one of relentless exploration and bold innovation. His timeless works have always eschewed narrow categorization and shattered musical boundaries. Now, in the eight decade of his life his creative vision has matured without losing any of its youthful energy. On the heels of his epic Pulitzer Prize finalist masterpiece, Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012,) and his intimate and expressive duet with South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, Ancestors (Tum, 2012), comes a tour de force of modern orchestral music, Occupy the World.Smith conducts the Finnish large collective Tumo, a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

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Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo are grand old men in the annals of adventurous jazz, having played in a dizzying variety of settings through more than five decades. More to the point, both have amply shown a capacity for nuanced playing in demanding, interactive improvisational formats. An intimate duet performance by the pair, featured on Ancestors--sensitively recorded by Suikki Jääskä in Finland in February 2011--is thus a sure thing. The question is whether the result will exceed excellence and achieve sublimity. To put the matter metaphorically: will this be merely a sparkling tête-à-tête between two brilliant conversationalists, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

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The title of this remarkable album says it all. American trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo are two forefathers of modern jazz, innovative musicians who redefined the practices of their instruments and the connections between the Afro-American, African and European jazz legacies-- creative composers and esteemed bandleaders for nearly five decades and role models for generations of musicians. So, this musical meeting between these two masters, their first as a duo, was bound to happen. Thanks to the Finnish TUM label said meeting was documented beautifully. Both musicians accumulated extensive experience with the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

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The Theology of the Body is an integrated vision of the human person as body, soul, and spirit. Attending the church of jazz, this amalgamation can be best illustrated+ with improvisation and, if so, this duo of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo is a sacred meeting.Following the previous releases of Smith's duos with drummers Günter “Baby" Sommer on Wisdom In Time (Intakt, 2007), Adam Rudolph on Compassion (Meta/Kabell, 2006), Jack DeJohnette with America (Tzadik, 2007) and Ed Blackwell (from 1986) on The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer (Kabell, 2010), this current 2011 session invokes the spirit ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith / Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

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There is a natural fit between drums and trumpet. It stretches back all the way into prehistory, with the shamanistic combination of animal horns and percussive devices, persisting up until the early twentieth century in military drum and bugle corps who passed signals and directed troop movement. That synergy continues to bear artistic fruit to the present day in jazz, nowhere more so than in the work of distinguished trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. He already numbers four such meetings in an extensive discography, including standouts on Wisdom In Time (Intakt, 2007), with Gunter Baby Sommer, and America (Tzadik, 2009), with ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Wadada Leo Smith: London, England, August 27, 2012

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Wadada Leo SmithCafé OtoLondonAugust 27, 2012As if searching for the perfect setting, for the second night of his two-day residency at north London's Café Oto, legendary AACM trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith was pitched against two contrasting ensembles drawn from the capital's reservoir of improvising talent. First up was a brass trio, supplemented by the electronics and melodica of Spring Heel Jack impresario, erstwhile guitarist John Coxon, while the second was a percussion threesome. Although Smith's work Stateside has revolved around working units such as his acclaimed Golden Quartet and his electric string orchestra Organic, interpreting ...



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