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Album Review

Broken Shadows: Broken Shadows with Tim Berne, Chris Speed, Reid Anderson, Dave King

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Broken Shadows: Broken Shadows with Tim Berne, Chris Speed, Reid Anderson, Dave King
The context for Broken Shadows is—can you guess—the Ornette Coleman album of the same name, recorded in 1971 and released on Columbia Records in 1982. That, along with three tunes from Coleman's Science Fiction (Columbia, 1971), and more from the free jazz pioneer's Atlantic and Blue Note Records days. And while we're at it, throw in a pair of compositions from Julius Hemphill, one from saxophonist Dewey Redman and one from bassist Charlie Haden—all players with strong connections to Coleman.

The group Broken Shadows consists of Tim Berne on alto sax, Chris Speed on tenor sax, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. From the opening notes of "Street Woman," it is obvious that Ornette Coleman's DNA pulses through the quartet's collective bloodstream in a flow of distinctive and fluid melodies, assuring that these renditions are all about the song.

As free as Coleman was, he almost always presented melodies that got stuck in the auditory cortex, spinning into loops inside the grey matter that wouldn't let go. The melody line of "Lonely Woman," from Coleman's Shape Of Jazz to Come (Atlantic Records, 1959) certainly repeats itself in multiple minds it has crossed.

Saxophonist Berne, who leads the group Science Friction (among others), is a perfect interpreter of Coleman's artistry, coming off here as somewhat less intense than he consistently sounds on his own recordings. His pairing with tenor saxophonist Chris Speed brings Coleman's teaming with Dewey Redman to mind, with their similar musical visions and similar feels for freedom as they navigate their ways around circuitous melodic forms. Bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King—two thirds of the group The Bad Plus—bring a muscularity to the table, some irresistible grooves and powerful backdrops, on a fine album that is bound to encourage the pulling of Ornette Coleman albums down off the shelf.

Track Listing

Street Woman; Body; Toy Dance; Ecars; Civilization Day; Comme il Faut; Dogon A.D.; C.O.D.; Una Muy Bonita; Song For Che; Walls-Bridges; Broken Shadows.

Personnel

Tim Berne: saxophone, alto; Chris Speed: saxophone; Reid Anderson: bass; Dave King: drums.

Album information

Title: Broken Shadows with Tim Berne, Chris Speed, Reid Anderson, Dave King | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Intakt Records

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