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Wadada Leo Smith and Adam Rudolph: Compassion

Rex  Butters By

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Long-time occasional collaborators Wadada Leo Smith and Adam Rudolph perform improvised/composed duets from a 2002 performance live at Venice's Electric Lodge on Compassion, newly released on Rudolph's Meta Records. Both are masters of their mediums: Rudolph plays a variety of percussion instruments and at least one wind instrument to sonically shade, color, and texturize; Smith uses trumpet and flugelhorn in conventional and extended ways to complement him. With improvisers of this depth, the journey takes many unexpected turns, all rewarding.

The spacious and exotic Beauty: Aquamarine Night allows each musician to display subtlety and understatement while interacting with unhurried delicacy. Rudolph blows a double-reed instrument fanfare on "Sun Ray Colors and Rainbow Images, with Smith's flugelhorn circulating. Returning to percussion, Rudolph marks silence with gong flares, scratches, and shakers as Smith slides around the rich toned flugelhorn. "Fragrance of Light finds the percussionist offering a brief glimpse of his remarkable skill on hand drums, while Smith blows muted and clear toned trumpet jet trails.

Adding his distinctive vocalese chant to propulsive drumming, Rudolph simmers on the skins while Smith essays a scorching musical thread on Love Rhythms, Heart Songs. Smith leads the "Song of Humanity, a reedy introspective muted meditation complimented by Rudolph's melodic drum work. Appropriately, "The Caller and the Called finds Smith in full voice, hitting gorgeous tones with congas resonating. Part two is pure Codona: Rudolph maintains a pulse on the rhythmic dousn'goni; Smith is more muscular than Cherry, but still a muted brass butterfly.

At the end of May, Rudolph again takes the stage at the Electric Lodge, this time with his large ensemble, the Go: Organic Orchestra, a who's who of gifted artists augmented by drop in guest stars, a self-contained jazz festival. These prolific musicians have much to say to each other, and us.


Track Listing: Beauty: Aquamarine Night; Sun Ray Colors and Rainbow Images; Fragrance of Light; Love Rhythms, Heart Songs; Song of Humanity; Silver Dream Circle; The Caller and the Called.

Personnel: Adam Rudolph: handrumset, dusu

Title: Compassion | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Meta Records


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