The seeds for the Revolutionary Ensemble were sown when Sunny Murray
introduced violinist Leroy Jenkins
. The two found common musical ground that took off from several genres and became encapsulated in one body. At first they worked with Frank Clayton, but the drummer was ultimately replaced by Jerome Cooper
Vietnam is the group's first recording. Divided into two parts the music moves across a wide expanse. Fluidity and fractured movement are put into a melting pot. What emerges is a document of the way in which the trio circumvented form and gave their music an impressive definition.
All three are votaries of the avant-garde forsaking norm to grab outlandish and atonal motifs, yet they do not hesitate to play a melody and take a lyrical approach the way they initially traverse the landscape of "Vietnam 1." Jenkins lays down a melody line and fills it with with a lusher body before Sirone snaps the mood with his bowing. The schematics of their operation are transformed on the go and dissonance is as much a part of their plan as straight, down-the-mainstream lines.
The trio never settles down into a predictable pattern. The creative fire is constantly burning, and if Jenkins casts aside the sweetness for a harsh trajectory, Sirone is there to find a complementary aisle. Cooper drives "Vietnam 2," peppering the drums with whirlwind polyrhythms. When silence dawns only to be tempered by a single beat, the time is rife for Jenkins to illuminate the context with torqued lines before they rise in lonely cry.
Nothing is as it seems, nothing is as it should be. And that makes this CD mesmerizing.
Personnel: Leroy Jenkins: violin; Jerome Cooper: percussion; Sirone: bass.