Although 72-year old trumpeter Ted Daniel remains active on the scene -courtesy of his Duology partnership with clarinetist Michael Marcus, and his own International Brass and Membrane Corps -a significant part of his recent output has focused on archival recordings. As such, the first time release of the 2 CD Innerconnection from fall 1975 neatly fits with a succession of reissues comprising 1970's The Ted Daniel Sextet (Ujamaa Records, 2006), 1974's Tapestry (Porter Records, 2008) and 1975's The Loft Years (Ujamaa Records, 2009). It fills a gap too as his band here, going under the moniker Energy Module, has not left any other imprint.
The name proves entirely appropriate as the bickering polypholy of the front line horns of reedmen Oliver Lake and Daniel Carter alongside the trumpeter certainly quickens the pulse. But in spite of the mayhem there is still ample space in the 85-minute program for a series of powerful solos before they gradually become subsumed by the spirited affirmation and accompaniment which recalls Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz in its conversational give and take.
Daniel's bop-inspired runs corral insistent flutters, halfnote effects and fragmented fanfares into a compelling whole. On alto and soprano saxophones, Lake's familiar alternation between tart lines and outbursts of ferocious overblowing is already in place. Carter restricts himself to gritty tenor, playing with a muscular animation which contains less of the bluesy undertow now expected.
Daniel's rhythm section of drummer Tatsuya Nakamura and bassist Richard Pierce were at this point regular associates. Nakamura fuels the fires with roiling intensity. He connects strongly with the horns, his kick drum bombs goading Carter in particular into ever more energetic outpourings on a lengthy rendition of Dewey Redman's title track. Pierce can only be properly heard once the ensemble passages subside, but shows discipline and imagination on the floating "Probe."
The trumpeter's song selection pays homage to his peers and influences. Drummer Sunny Murray -a past employer -contributes the vibrant corkscrewing "Jiblet" while Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" emerges from a collective discourse in what proves a cathartic blowout. In an unbroken sequence on the second disc, Ornette's "Congeniality" is sandwiched between two of the leader's themes. Lake smears and splatters his way through "Entering" before Daniel takes over with perhaps his most forceful outing of the set on the Coleman tune. On "Pagan Spain" a Moorish tinge permeates his muted lyricism, before an expansive flugelhorn dialogue with bass and drums rounds off a session which is a noteworthy addition to the trumpeter's discography and fully deserves to be heard.
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