How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
If you want a very accessible introduction to the music of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sirius Calling is a great place to start. If you are a long time follower, it won't disappoint. The fourteen songs presented here are short in length, half clocking in at less then four minutes. Enough music to fill the 65 minute session, but nothing to try the patience of those seeking entry into the creative world of AEC.
With the passing of Lester Bowie, the retirement (then un-retirement) of Joseph Jarman, and the death of bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut, the future of AEC is anything but certain. This session was recorded on the heels of the 2003 critical favorites The Meeting (Pi) and Tribute To Lester (ECM). Sadly, after this recording Favors left this planet. The band has begun including trumpeter Corey Wilkes and Jaribu Shahid on bass to supplement its lineup.
On this session the quartet of Favors, Mitchell, Jarman, and Moye delivers the goods. One special feature of this disc is the outstanding recording quality. Every gesture on every instrument, including gongs, bells, whistles and voice, is placed accurately in this mix, and thus around your listening ears. Whether it is the bop-like "Till Autumn" or the free jazz of the title track, these veterans keep their creative principles flowing.
Especially noteworthy when you are listening to any AEC disc is their mastery of free chamber jazz work. It seems that the quieter they get on tracks like "Come On Y'all" and "He Took A Cab To Neptune," the closer you are compelled to listen. Perhaps it is because of Malachi Favors' passing, but one certainly ponders each vibrating note he sends forth. This is a nice tribute to his music.
Track Listing: Sirius Calling, Come On Y'all; Two-Twenty; He Took A Cab To Neptune; Everyday's A Perfect Day;
Till Autumn; Dance Of Circles; Cruising With JJ; You Can't Get Away; Taiko; There's A Message For
You; Slow Tenor A Bass; Voyage; The Council.