The recordings the Revolutionary Music Ensemble made in the '70s were adventurous and daring. Having stamped their credentials, the members of the group went their separate ways before that decade came to a close and pursued individual careers. Now, more than twenty years after their groundbreaking recording of The People's Republic, they stir the waters once again.
If there is one trait is in evidence here, it is the accessibility of the compositions. Though they ascend from the bed of melody, they are forged on the kiln of inspiration and so create remarkably potent permutations. Each of the musicians gives improvisation its context, and though the angles may be odd, the prism through which they are filtered brings the whole into pronounced focus. The gentlest voice is given to "Ism Schism." The gorgeous tones of Leroy Jenkins' violin bask in warmth, counterpointed by the Sirone's bowing on the bass. The classical music permutations are deconstructed by the bassist and Jerome Cooper, whose drumming has moved from augmenting the violinist to acting in concert with Sirone. Jenkins returns, escarping the trajectory before returning to the delectable melody. Jenkins slithers and darts like quicksilver on the ruminative "Rumi Tales" as he keeps upping the tempo and the register. The asymmetrical incantations are met head on by Cooper and Sirone, the former coaxing and goading, the latter letting his bow lay a rough hew.
The interaction between the three is still intuitive. Time has not effaced their ability to forge ahead, grab imagination, and create music that is spirited, fierce, and dynamic.
Track Listing: Berlin Erfahrung; Rumi Tales; 911-544; Light; Ism Schism
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.