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Assemble alumni from Randy Weston, Third World, Arrested Development, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Lonnie Liston Smith, Maxi Priest, and Mystic Merlin; throw in Matthew Shipp, Roy Campbell, and Sabir Mateen; and you have Elements of the 7th, hard blowing exercises in extended groovology. With talent like this on board, your expectations of being lifted from your seat materialize.
"3" opens the set. With Third World's Clifford "Moonie" Pusey snaking rusty wire wah-wah guitar leading over shakers and tambourine, and bass wonder Alex Blake dancing along across clefs, the horns glide in to give the piece a Fela feel. Campbell keeps it low-register mellow over the heating rhythm section. Catching the fire, he rides a flare skyward. Mateen takes up the narrative, digging into the rhythm. Arrested Development's Atiba Wilson enters on flute, blistering from the beginning, Pusey's steel wool skronk urging him on to a unison hum with his instrument. Some free wind flights fly like sparks off the percussion. Ras Tschaka Fonge sings, shouts, and narrates the soul jazz cruiser "The Move." Clyde Bullard provides a solid bass framework for Mateen to patiently scale. Brain Carrot adds a bluesy exploratory vibes solo, leading to another workout by Wilson. Clark Gayton's trombone plays call and response with Fonge.
Shipp takes over on his own "Astro Nugget." With just the rhythm section, the pianist creates his swirling jagged meditation. Another Wilson composition leans on the funk. "Back to Back" brings Campbell back muted. with a rhythm section playing crazy. Mateen jumps in chasing around the riff, followed by Wilson. Shipp returns on "Blue 19," this time joined by Campbell straightening out the pianist's gnarled bass key density. A dub/reggae version of "the Move" finishes the disc. Mateen plays thick tenor with Pusey's bright guitar appearing out of echo and back. Carrot contributes celestial vibes, and Wilson tears into an inspired solo.
This all-star summit delivers a stirring set of performances fueled by feverishly driven drummers and imaginative instrumentalists.
Track Listing: 3; the Move; Astro Nugget; Back to Black; Blue 19; the Move-Yard version.
Personnel: Atiba Wilson , flute, piccolo; Sabir Mateen, tenor sax; Clark Gayton, trombone; Roy
Campbell, trumpet, horn: Matthew Shipp, piano; Brian Carrot, vibraphone; Clifford 'Moonie' Pusey,
guitar; Bill Dotts, Clyde Bullard, Alex Blake, bass; Michael Thompson, Charles Hopkins, drums, Ras
Tschaka Fonge, percussion, vocals; Neil Clark, percussion; Michael Foley Kolade, talking drum