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8 Bold Souls: Last IOption

Mark Corroto By

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Maybe the time is right for creative music. I’m not going to say “jazz music” because I’ll scare a quarter of the readers and 98% of record buyers away. But with this release on Thrill Jockey, an alternative electronic/pop/rock/punk label, creative music may just find its audience. Today’s creative music listener might stack Hip-Hop next to Ennio Morricone, Les Baxter, and John Zorn’s Masada. The modern discriminating listener is motivated more by musicianship than anarchy. Essentially that was the credo of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) founded in the 1960s. Artists such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie and Fred Anderson began a Chicago tradition of creative music, which had fellow musician’s respect but not a national audience.

Enter Edward Wilkerson, Jr. a second generation AACM member and founder of 8 Bold Souls. His concept parallels fellow AACM artist Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus band with its odd instrumentation that favors the bottom end. 8 Bold Soul features bass, cello, tuba, and trombone. But Wilkerson’s writing never muddies or gets stuck in this sound because he can easily shift from New Orleans to uptown Ellington. Recorded old school, in one big room without amplification, required the musicians to take into account the group’s ‘sound’ and to allow plenty of space to individual parts and improvisation. This crispness of sound might have come from Wilkerson’s prior work with Kahil El’Zabar’s percussion band, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. Mwata Bowden’s baritone sax coupled with the magnificent cello of Naomi Millender and Harrison Bankhead’s bass make for ponderous music. The band favors odd time signatures to showcase its instruments and compositions. From a funeral dirge to the circus-like, the creative octet fourth recording is getting noticed by all the right listeners.

Track List:Odyssey; Third One Smiles; Last Option; The Art Of Tea; Pachinko; Gang Of Four; Brown Town.


Personnel: Harrison Bankhead

Title: Last IOption | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey


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