How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Freedomland first put forth its low-end theory on 2002's Amusement Park , two 30-minute workouts recorded live at CB's Lounge in New York's East Village. This followup documents the same band a year later in the studio and reassures us that Freedomland's debut wasn't simply a one-off and that the band is a going concern.
While most of the band's instrumental character is defined by Daniel Carter's big bag o' horns (tenor, alto, trumpet, flute and clarinet), each player does the work of many. Tubaist Dave Hofstra doubles on bass saxophone; baritone player Dave Sewelson doubles on alto; and William Parker continues his metamorphosis into Don Cherry by performing on contrabass, tuba, bombard, sintir and trumpet. Even drummer Dee Pop manages to sound as if he has four hands. With so much going on, it's occasionally difficult to hear who is playing what at any given moment, but as the improvisations develop, individual sounds come into focus: Carter's powerful tenor seconded so effectively by Sewelson's baritone saxophone; Hofstra's slightly comic but charismatic bass sax; Parker's piercing, buzzing bombard. The group's jazz antecedents can be traced to the overlapping reeds and driving rhythms of Mingus and the excitement generated during Art Blakey's free-for-all period, while the unstructured freeform jamming draws its inspiration from influences as superficially different as Other Dimensions in Music (another Carter/Parker group) and, on the groovy title track, African trance music. From time to time, one of the musicians is even inspired to wordless singing in the background.
Freedomland's music is spontaneous, instinctive and of-the-moment, changing direction as soon as one of the players hears something that makes him pick up one instrument and put another one down. Vividly recorded and released on CDR, Yia Yia's Song supplies an hour of top music from some of the best improvisers of our day.
Track Listing: 1. Don't Throw Out the Sky
2. Yia Yia's Song
3. One Green Eye
4. Moonbeams in a Jar
5. One Blue Eye
Personnel: Daniel Carter - reeds
William Parker - bass
Dave Sewelson - baritone and alto saxes
Dave Hofstra - tuba, bass sax
Dee Pop - drums