Raphe Malik: Companions

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Raphe Malik: Companions It's hard to imagine 45 years, hence that one of the things that was so controversial about Ornette Coleman's emergence was that he gave up on employing a pianist. The sax/trumpet/bass/drum quartet has become commonplace in the modern jazz world since that time (Other Dimensions in Music and Masada leap to mind as two of today's standard bearers), and the lineup freed of the tonal anchors of the piano has become central to the growth of the free improvisation language.

Most jazz groups rely on a strong rhythm section, but the pianoless quartet needs a strong simpatico in the front line as well. Trumpeter Raphe Malik shared such a relationship with the late saxophonist Glenn Spearman, who died from cancer in 1998 at the age of 51. This remarkable set was recorded at the Vision Festival five months before his death, with William Parker on bass and Paul Murphy behind the drums.

It's surprising that Companions hasn't come out sooner, if not immediately after the set then at least sooner in the wake of his death, with the inevitable post-mortem interest in his playing. The four tracks here (all composed by the leader) are, in short, as good as it gets. Spearman's solos are energetic and propelling. Parker rumbles, keeping a locomotive bottom and is matched well by Murphy.

But the real star here is the leader. Malik's playing is crystalline and uplifting. For 40 minutes, they create a celebration, a fast-pitched rollick of uplifting music. That Spearman was in his final days doesn't weigh the set down. This is life lived fast and pure.

Track Listing: 1. Lyon's Jump 2:46 2. Emblematic 0:45 3. Health Food 2:34 4. Bend 7:19

Personnel: William Parker - bass, Raphe Malik - trumpet, Paul Murphy - drums, Glenn Spearman - tenor saxophone.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Eremite Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Dichotomies" CD/LP/Track Review Dichotomies
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Special Kay!" CD/LP/Track Review Special Kay!
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "The Inner Spectrum of Variables" CD/LP/Track Review The Inner Spectrum of Variables
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!