Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Wadada Leo Smith / Sabu Toyozumi: Burning Meditation

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
The Japanese concept of ma—a celebration of the space between things—is one to which trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith can readily subscribe. Space and silence are as important as sound in his conception. The weight given to the pauses between phrases stands out on this live recording from 1994 with Japanese drummer Sabu Toyozumi, which forms another winning installment in the Chap Chap series of archival recordings from Japan which see the light of day thanks to licensing to the Lithuanian Nobusiness imprint.

Smith's affinity with drummers is well known, manifest through a sequence of duets with the likes of Gunter Sommer, Jack DeJohnette, Adam Rudolph and Louis Moholo-Moholo. Seemingly the first was his 1986 session with Ed Blackwell documented on The Blue Mountain Sun's Drummer (Kabell, 2010), but Burning Meditation is one of the earliest and ranks highly. Like Smith, Toyozumi is similarly well-travelled having once spent a year in Chicago, becoming the only non-American member of the AACM in the process. Perhaps no surprise then that they share such a simpatico outlook.

Smith's stepfather was a Delta bluesman, and that spirit has never been far away from his playing even within more exploratory spheres. Smith's earthy lyricism pervades the open dialogue of "Creative Music 1 -Red Mountain Garden, Wild Irises And Glacier Lines," buoyed by Toyozumi's spare rumbles and crashes. The drummer serves as an equal partner. He effects changes in direction through dynamic shifts as much as Smith, evident in "Voices -Agano River Flow" where his assertive rhythmic patterns energize the trumpeter.

Smith briefly varies the textures with coloration on flute and koto. He also sings and plays twangy thumb piano on "There Are Human Rights Blues," a piece reminiscent of "Don't You Remember" from Kulture Jazz (ECM, 1992), sensitively backed by the drummer. When he wishes, Toyozumi possesses more of a jazz feel than many Japanese free drummers, perhaps as a consequence of his experience, and that meeting of minds is key to the success of this performance.

Track Listing: Creative Music 1 - Red Mountain Garden, Wild Irises And Glacier Lines; Burning Meditation - Uprising; Voices - Agano River Flow; Don Cherry, A Silver Flute Song; There Are Human Rights Blues; Stars, Lightning Bugs And Chrysanthemum Flowers.

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, koto, bamboo flute, percussion; Sabu Toyozumi: drums.

Title: Burning Meditation | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Wadada Leo Smith
Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Wadada Leo Smith
Solo: Reflections and...

Najwa

Najwa

Wadada Leo Smith
Najwa

Dred Scott: 1857

Dred Scott: 1857

Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers

South Central L.A. Kulture

South Central L.A. Kulture

Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions

Album Reviews
Year in Review
Multiple Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live From New York
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Burning Meditation

Burning Meditation

NoBusiness Records
2018

buy
Araminta

Araminta

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Najwa

Najwa

TUM Records
2017

buy
Ocean of Storms

Ocean of Storms

Self Produced
2017

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun11Tue
Andrew Cyrille Vision Festival Lifetime Achievement...
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$40

Related Articles

Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019
Read Music! Music! Music! Album Reviews
Music! Music! Music!
By Doug Collette
May 20, 2019
Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019