Faruq Z. Bey and the Northwoods Improvisers: Auzar

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Faruq Z. Bey and the Northwoods Improvisers: Auzar
Detroit saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey's third Entropy release finds him returning to a three-horn lineup for the first time since his days with Griot Galaxy. Working a stylistic vein that would have fit '60's Impulse! with their bass-driven, Afro-centric, imaginative ardent songs to the sacred, Bey and the Northwoods Improvisers work from compositions, cues, and inspiration. The group sound, captured live, shows an enthusiastic unit capable of infectious grooves and driving without hands.

Mike Johnston introduces "Gemini with a lurking solo bass that spooks and runs. Gilmore glimmers the vibes and the ensemble roars in. Bey makes the first tenor solo a meat feast, turning and rolling chunky tones. Shelton's lighter approach explores sparingly, while Carey slips and slides up and down his bass clarinet. Gilmore hammers out an elaborately graceful lattice work solo before cueing the ensemble to catch the racing rhythm section. Bey's round alto sweetens the arid exotic "Zychron, composed by Tani Tabbal. Shelton plays soulfully among the modal minors, and after a significant pause, the ensemble returns for another fluid ride with Carey's bass clarinet.

A slow, measured performance, Isolation uses understatement and the band's textures to create a dreamy, evocative tone. Bey leads the three tenors in an intertwining trio on "Vines. Gilmore switches to marimba while Johnston and Ashton count the miles. All three tenors take ambulatory solos, contrasting the complex beat, but Gilmore dives in with both mallets.

The title track opens with an untroubled solo melody line from Bey, before the ensemble joins and settles into the convoluted riff. With Gilmore coloring support, the track has a Jemeel Moondoc feel. Shelton sounds off, and Gilmore finds exquisite decorations for the melody. Shelton's "the Call follows Ayler-esque structures, the horns whirling before flying free, Ashton burning on drums.

Faruq Z. Bey's Auzur crackles with memorable themes and thrilling variations, revealing a sextet at home with its power.

Track Listing

1. Gemini 2. Zychron 3. Isolation 4. Vines 5. Auzar (Osiris) 6. The Call


Faruq Z. Bey, tenor and alto saxophone; Mike Carey, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Skeeter Shelton: tenor saxophone; Mike Gilmore: vibes, marimba; Mike Johnston: bass; Nick Ashton: drums

Album information

Title: Auzar | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Entropy Stereo

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read Free Hoops
Free Hoops
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian
Read Unnavigable Tributaries
Unnavigable Tributaries
Vicente / Brice / Sanders
Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.