Requiem for Julius dedicates itself to the memory of founding WSQ member Julius Hemphill (here again replaced by John Purcell). The quartet stands alonewithout its recent companion, African drumsand invokes its remarkable ability to trade off between tight arrangements and free improvisation. In fact, it's often hard to tell where the arrangements leave off and the improvisation begins. Despite the quarter century of musicianship shared between the other three founding members, Purcell plays with maturity and sensitivity, fitting right in.
The general feel of the record is reflective and downtempo, making generous use of space, althoughas alwaysthere are exceptions. The title track, a David Murray composition, rings clear as the strongest on the record: it manages to reflect a contemplative mood, while making effective use of melody and a bluesy sound. Requiem certainly has few flaws, but it's hard to recommend this record as a must-have, given the amazing quantity and quality of WSQ material available. Look for two more WSQ releases upcoming on Justin Time: a studio performance and a live recording.
Track Listing: Ebony, Free And Independent Thought, All Praise, Requiem For Julius, Le Sport Suite, Hurricane Floyd, Potato Vamp, Tone Poem, Blues.
Personnel: Hamiet Bluiett, baritone saxophone; Oliver Lake, alto saxophone; David Murray, tenor saxophone; John Purcell, soprano saxophone.