167

Archie Shepp Meets Khahil El 'Zabar's Ritual Trio: Conversations

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
I suppose one does mellow with age after all. Time was when I wouldn’t even listen to, let alone review a disc by Archie Shepp and Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio. Now I’m listening, and if not exactly galvanized by the music, I find it far less displeasing than I would have some years ago. Much of it, in fact, is quite good in its own way (although I still believe there’s a tendency in so–called “free Jazz” to blow one’s own horn, so to speak, at the expense of communication). On the other hand, they may be saying exactly what others wish to hear, and who am I to claim that isn’t the case? Among the qualities that draws one to Jazz is its eclecticism; there’s room in this house for all manner of tenants, from trad to swing to bop to avant–garde. El’Zabar and his trio have found their space, and made themselves quite comfortable therein. Their “conversations” with guest Archie Shepp are loose and informal, like old friends who bump into each other on a street corner and swap stories about where they’ve been and where they are going. Of the two tenors, I am more impressed by Brown (on “Kari,” “Brother Malcolm”) even though I am well aware of Shepp’s imposing and assuredly well–earned reputation. He simply doesn’t say as much to me. Brown is also an excellent pianist (as I learned on his earlier CDs, Ultimate Frontier and Venus, on which he also doubles). Shepp is, to these ears, most likable on the finale, “Revelations,” the most “straight–ahead” piece on the menu (whose ill–advised fadeout lessens its impact). All compositions are by El’Zabar who is a versatile and cogent timekeeper. Two numbers, “Big Fred” and “Brother Malcolm,” include lyrics of a sort that are chanted rather than sung by members of the group. There are few pyrotechnics; much of the music is pensive and sedate, and most of it is melodic as well. While this isn’t the sort of disc I’d run out and buy, there are many who would, and to them I would unreservedly recommend it.

Track listing: Conversations !: The Introduction; Big Fred; Kari; Whenever I Think of You; Conversations 2: The Dialogue; Brother Malcolm; Revelations (60:39).

Personnel:

Archie Shepp, tenor sax, piano (3); Ari Brown, piano, tenor sax (3, 6); Malachi Favors, bass; Kahil El

| Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "What Do I Miss" CD/LP/Track Review What Do I Miss
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Nomade Orquestra" CD/LP/Track Review Nomade Orquestra
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Open Window / Flying Colors" CD/LP/Track Review Open Window / Flying Colors
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Dream In The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Dream In The Blue
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 28, 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!