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Wadada Leo Smith: Fire Illuminations


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Wadada Leo Smith: Fire Illuminations
Eighty-one year old trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith comes out flaring like Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, as Fire Illuminations jumps the funk rock from the break of the muscular conflagration "Ntozake." And the grunge jazz clips along as guitarists Nels Cline, Brandon Ross, and Lamar Smith vie, bite, sting, and quarrel over an insistent bass drum power-groove courtesy of bassists Bill Laswell and Melvin Gibbs, percussionist Mauro Refosco, drummer Pheeroan AkLaff, and the deep space electronics of Hardedge.

And so blazes Fire Illuminations, Smith's latest daredevil encounter in the cauldron of fiery free jazz composition. Concurring absolutely with Smith's visionary reach into the unknown, the players assembled here—now known collectively as Orange Wave Electric—bring their sense of the same to the vast potential. There is no margin here, nor should there be. So "Muhammad Ali's Spiritual Horizon" features only Smith, guitarist Lamar Smith and the full rhythm section dodging and driving like Ali himself in the ring. That same line-up fuels Smith's cutting clarion-yowl on "Fire Illuminations Inside the Particles of Light" a disparately evolving metaphor for the power of fire in all our lives.

Brimming with soaring accolades from Smith, "Tony Williams" becomes another of the trumpeter's heartfelt tributes to the incomparable rhythm storms of Tony Williams. Fully employing the sonic sensibilities of the whole unit, the piece unfolds with an episodic rush and rancor, holding tight to form then obliterating it all together. Pared down to the white hot turn-on-a-dime quintet of Smith, Laswell, Cline, Gibbs, and aKlaff, "Muhammad Ali and George Foreman Rumble in Zaire Africa" roils with a rock fire energy which many contemporary rock'n'rollers should take notice of and learn a lot from. Another vital recording in Smith's vital late day career.

Track Listing

Ntozake; Muhammed Ali's Spiritual Horizon; Fire Illuminations Inside Light Particles; Tony Williams; Muhammed Ali and George Foreman's Rumble in Zaire Africa.


Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Lamar Smith
guitar, electric
Melvin Gibbs
bass, electric
Mauro Refosco
Additional Instrumentation

Nels Cline: electric guitar (1, 4, 5); Brandon Ross: electric guitar (1, 4); Lamar Smith: electric guitar (1-4); Mauro Refosco: percussion (1-3); Hardedge: electronics: 1, 4).

Album information

Title: Fire Illuminations | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Kabell Records



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