143

Makanda Ken McIntyre: A New Beginning

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Ken McIntyre always had a thing about vision. His early records Looking Ahead, Open Horizon, and Chasing the Sun made explicit reference to his fascination with perspective, and his music has likewise reflected this focus. The ironically-titled A New Beginning marks McIntyre's last work as a leader—he died in July, 2001—and it's a logical step forward for an artist who never received the recognition (or the opportunities to record) that he deserved.

A New Beginning plays both sides of the coin, presenting a fairly straightforward hard bop rhythm section juxtaposed against McIntyre's expansive reed adventures. The twelve tunes on this record offer him opportunities to stretch out at length on the alto saxophone and flute, plus other reed instruments. With a variety of moods and feels, they emphasize melody and coherence.

That structure makes it all the more exciting when McIntyre steps out, as he does on alto with the opener, "Black Sugar Cane." His woody tone, rhythmic unpredictability, and bird-like flights reveal an unpretentious sense of discovery. When McIntyre switches to flute, his approach changes dramatically: he offers gossamer lines of fragile melody, paying more attention to delineating the turning points than mining the depths of a given phrase or mood.

The rhythm section on A New Beginning plays a solid supporting role, particularly Wilber Morris's deliberate foundation-laying work on the bass. But the main reason to check out this record is McIntyre himself. The mix on A New Beginning occasionally falls short, and the piano slips into the background more than it should, but that's a relatively minor problem. By the time this group wraps up the title track closer (with strong solo work by the group and McIntyre's understated melodicisim on bass clarinet), you'll wish there was more.

Visit Passin' Thru Records on the web and read Kenny Mathieson's AAJ McIntyre retrospective.


Track Listing: Black Sugar Cane; Evolvement; Breadfruit; Witch's Brew; Another Look; Monk & Trane; Toy Rugs; Joyous Remembrance; Smile; Sonny; Tomorrow? Tonight!; A New Beginning.

Personnel: Makanda Ken McIntyre: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, oboe, flute, and bassoon; Joanne Brackeen: piano; Wilber Morris: bass; Charli Persnip: drums.

Title: A New Beginning | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Passin' Thru Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "December Songs" CD/LP/Track Review December Songs
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "It's Always 9.30 In Zog" CD/LP/Track Review It's Always 9.30 In Zog
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "The Hive" CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.