After a 14 year gap since the eponymous debut (Riti, 2003) comes the second release from the ongoing trio known as Eloping With The Sun. Perhaps the reason for the hiatus lies in the illustrious participants' other commitments. Bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake share a storied history, both apart and together as the engine room of choice for many, while guitarist Joe Morris, not only teaches at NEC, and runs his own label, but also performs on bass. In many ways they pick up from the first outing, marrying world music with free jazz improvisation, combining an experimental quality with earthy flavors.
Although inspired by traditional West African string styles, they don't explicitly call on those rhythms, but given Parker and Drake's predilection for morphing into infectious meter, the groove is never far away. "The Sky was Purple Blue" is first of several on the disc, cut across by Morris' fast fingered figures within a narrow range, like Cecil Taylor on the banjouke. Instrumental switches and less propulsive cuts maintain the interest and disrupt the flow. On "Elixir" Morris bows fiddle over a simple African lute pulse to create a stumbling, lurching feel, while on "Grass Beneath the Cracked Shells," Parker's minimalist bass patter and Drake's rumbling drums converse with Morris' vocally inflected trumpet snuffles.
Even so repeated motifs and patterns form the band's stock in trade. On "Endless Galaxies" Morris phrases in the pocket of the thumb piano and spare beats, as an improv like responsiveness engenders a winning effect, spacious but ambulatory. Although Morris' strings often provide the lead voice, sometimes they act as just one instrument among three. As he proves on "The Rhythm of Butterflies," Parker can seemingly generate dancing momentum with whatever instrument he touches, including shakuhachi flute. Morris' rippling guitar hits on a nagging riff but here as elsewhere, there's enough grit to belie the description hypnotic.
The Sky was Purple Blue; Profound Branches; Elixir; Grass Beneath the Cracked Shells; Endless Galaxies; Energy of Patience; Light Across a Leaf; The Rhythm of Butterflies; Out of This; Exact Intuition.
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