All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

163

Wadada Leo Smith's Organic: Heart’s Reflections

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Wadada Leo Smith is currently making some of the most distinctive music on the planet; its expressive depth, as exemplified by Heart's Reflections, seemingly born not merely of one lifetime, but of several. The trumpeter's means of expression, which has never been the stuff of mere virtuosity, is now purged of all excess, resulting in something else, deeply enriched with clarity of thought and execution. It could argued that such clarity doesn't come easily, but in bringing together the musicians Smith has on this two-disc, it's clear that Smith sure knows how to pick them.

With its multiple facets, "Leroy Jenkins's Air Steps (for Leroy Jenkins)" illustrates these points. The music is, by turns, meditative and harshly dissonant, ensuring that the piece's underlying unity emerges only gradually. When wired funk comes to dominate proceedings at around the 6:20 mark, Smith's long-term fascination with Miles Davis' electric music from the first half of the 1970s also comes to the fore, but put through Smith's prism to emerge as something distinct in its own right.

There's something of the swamp about "Don Cherry's Electric Sonic Garden," but such is the fertility of Smith's contribution that it has the effect of pulling the music in a somewhat contrary direction; still, because this is rarefied music, the apparent contradiction is easily resolved.

That, with the passing of time, Smith is becoming an ever more absorbent musical sponge is best highlighted on the multi-part title track, where each section has a title in its own right, spanning the two discs. Thus, the reverential "The Dhikr of Radiant Hearts Part II" is enhanced, in no small part, by Angelica Sanchez's electric piano, before the specter of Miles Davis looms again briefly, only to be usurped by a meditative air that comes not merely from Smith's obviously deep spirituality, but as the result of collective in-the-moment thinking, which provokes a quiet sense of wonder.

Coming back to Heart's Reflections for the sheer listening experience is also a spiritual experience in itself. Deep though it can be, it is in some respects merely a starting point for adventures limited only by the imagination. Truly this is music for the ages.

Track Listing: CD1: Don Cherry's Electric Sonic Garden; Heart's Reflections: Splendors of Light and Purification (for Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili): The Dhikr of Radiant Hearts, Part I; The Dihkr of Radiant Hearts, Part II; The Majestic Way; The Shaykh, as far as Humaythira; Spiritual Wayfarers; Certainty; Ritual Purity and Love, Part I; Ritual Purity and Love, Part II. CD2: Heart's Reflections: Splendors of Light and Purification (for Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili): Silsila; The Well: From Bitter to Fresh Sweet Water, Part I; From Bitter to Fresh Sweet Water, Part II; Toni Morrison: The Black Hole (Sagittarius A*), Conscience and Epic Memory (for Toni Morrison); Leroy Jenkins's Air Steps (for Leroy Jenkins).

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, electric trumpet; Casey Anderson: alto sax; Casey Butler: tenor sax; Stephanie Smith: violin; Angelica Sanchez: piano, electric piano; Michael Gregory: guitars; Brandon Ross: guitar; Lamar Smith: guitar; Josh Gerowitz: guitar; Skuli Sverisson: bass, 6-string bass; John Lindberg: basses; Pheeroan Ak Laff: drums; Mark Trayle: laptop; Charlie Burgin: laptop.

Title: Heart’s Reflections | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Wadada Leo Smith
Solo: Reflections and...

Najwa

Najwa

Wadada Leo Smith
Najwa

Dred Scott: 1857

Dred Scott: 1857

Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers

South Central L.A. Kulture

South Central L.A. Kulture

Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions

Best of / Year End
Multiple Reviews
Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Araminta

Araminta

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Najwa

Najwa

TUM Records
2017

buy
Ocean of Storms

Ocean of Storms

Self Produced
2017

buy
America’s National Parks

America’s National...

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy
America's National Parks

America's National...

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Circle of Chimes" CD/LP/Track Review Circle of Chimes
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Minor Step" CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Parking Lot Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review Parking Lot Symphony
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Threes" CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "The Hands" CD/LP/Track Review The Hands
by John Eyles
Published: February 12, 2018
Read "Shamat" CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017