Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Wadada Leo Smith / Amina Claudine Myers: Central Park’s ...


Wadada Leo Smith / Amina Claudine Myers: Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens


Sign in to view read count
Wadada Leo Smith / Amina Claudine Myers: Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens
Since the beginning of the 2000s, Wadada Leo Smith has produced a number of small masterpieces in the form of themed box sets. The prolific composer/trumpeter has aged into a creative period analogous to few of his contemporaries. His monumental Ten Freedom Summers (TUM, 2013)—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—America's National Parks (Cuneiform Records, 2016), and Trumpet (TUM, 2021), have each taken disparate roads in redefining creative music. The relative brevity and contemplative atmosphere of Central Park's Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens, a duo recording with Amina Claudine Myers, is no less compelling than his larger scale projects.

Primarily known as a pianist and organist, Myers, a highly regarded jazz and gospel artist, should have been a household name long ago. She is an international performer who often works with choirs and ensembles and has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since its inception. Myers has worked with Archie Shepp, Charlie Haden, Lester Bowie, Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk among many other familiar artists. She has recorded a dozen albums as a leader or co-leader.

Myers' gospel roots are most often nuanced in the music of Central Park's Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens. "Conservatory Gardens" is an unhurried stroll through the magnolia and lilac trees of the English garden, Smith swooping through the air in stunning long lines. "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir" is the only track featuring Myers on organ. With Smith, the duo paints a tranquil soundscape of a one-hundred-plus acre reservoir known for its birdlife. "When Was" is a Myers composition influenced by classical piano themes, sharply contrasting with Smith's pace.

The remaining tracks, "The Harlem Meer," "Albert Ayler, a meditation in light," and "Imagine, a mosaic for John Lennon," offer subtle variations of meticulously crafted textures. Each has a continual and energetic power but it often prowls below the surface. The interchanges between Smith and Myers are uncommon and incandescent.

Smith and Myers began performing together in the 1970s. They have shared connections and influences from the earliest wave of the AAMC. That organization's eclectic inspirations from the worlds of global music, jazzmand classical avant-garde seamlessly play into the spaciousness of Central Park's Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens. It is a superb album from start to finish.

Track Listing

Conservatory Garden; Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir; Central Park at Sunset; When Was; The Harlem Meer; Albert Ayler, a meditation in light; Imagine, a mosaic for John Lennon.


Additional Instrumentation

Amina Claudine Myers: organ (2)

Album information

Title: Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Red Hook Records



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Strictly Smokin' & Friends
Strictly Smokin' Big Band
Chick Corea and Bela Fleck
Andrea Grossi Blend 3 + Jim Black
Art Of Art
Art Pepper


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.