Bright Moments is a quintet comprised of members of Chicago’s avant–garde Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and Return of the Lost Tribe nods obliquely toward the “lost Hebrew tribes” of antiquity, although there seem to be no overt references to this, even in the largely opaque recitation on “Kudus.” While I’d heard the names of some of these musicians before, I’d not heard their music until now, so didn’t know quite what to expect. It’s far more agreeable (conventional?) than I’d imagined it would be. On the other hand, it’s not the sort of music to which I can form a strong emotional bond. Too often — and I know this is my failing and not theirs — it sounds like musicians warming up before really getting down to business. Too harsh an assessment, I know — these gentlemen are professionals and know what they are about; I’m only saying what it sounds like to me. And I know that says more about my own lack of musical awareness than it does of their musical competence. But there you have it. That is, after all, why the music fashioned by the AACM is designated avant–garde; it’s not for everyone. In fact, I am hardly qualified to render any sort of meaningful comment, least of all to pass judgment on what is herein presented. In his liner notes, Neil Tesser says calls the music “explosive and swinging” (I don’t hear any of that) and adds that it “glows with a lambent authority” (for which I’ll have to take his word). Some of it is lovely (“Dance’m,” “Prayer at Twilight,” for example), some rhythmically compelling (“Kudus,” “Ornette”) — that much I can say. Beyond that, I would encourage the potential listener/buyer to appraise the musicians and their backgrounds and render his/her decision based on those considerations, as Return of the Lost Tribe is in all likelihood a fairly typical representation of their broader musical philosophy and purpose.
Track listing: Return of the Lost Tribe; Song of Joy for the Predestined; Kudus; Dance’m; Fragmentation–Prayer at Twilight; Ornette; Dream Of (61:17).
Joseph Jarman, alto sax, flute, recitation (on 3); Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, tenor sax; Adegoke Steve Colson, piano; Malachi Favors, bass; Kahil El