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Album Review

WeFreeStrings: Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage


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WeFreeStrings: Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage
History does repeat itself, violist Melanie Dyer draws from the same well of inspiration as Max Roach's We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite (Candid, 1961). Maybe better put, history reveals Martin Luther King's arc of the moral universe has only bent a few degrees in the past sixty years. With Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage, the ensemble WeFreeStrings follows up their debut Fulfillment (self released, 2018).

Dyer, a classically trained violist, found inspiration in the music of Billy Bang, Michael White, and Leroy Jenkins. She has performed with Salim Washington, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Tomeka Reid, and William Parker.

WeFreeStrings (a play on Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "We Free Kings") is an improvising string/rhythm collective. Besides three compositions penned by Dyer, the pared down ensemble (Dyer, violinist Gwen Laster, and bassist Ken Filiano) perform Andrew Lamb's "Pretty Flowers," which is brimming with a delicate evanescent beauty. The same trio performs the title track, Dedicated to the civil rights and women's rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, the performance churns with friction and agitation. Bowed viola and violin streaking across Filiano's plucked bass.

Even more perturbation pervades "Propagating the Same Type of Madness, that uh... (for Fred Hampton)," where the full cast fuels the dynamo with percussion and soaring strings. It is a chamber ensemble that has broken down doors to hit the streets. The lengthiest piece at 25+ minutes, "Baraka Suite" is a fully composed suite in six movements. The music passes through multiple emotive states from sadness to clipped optimism as the full ensemble traverse Dyer's score. The final destination is one of communal love and cooperation. This music has an undeniable beauty.

Track Listing

Baraka Suite (for Amiri Baraka): Mvt. 1 Meditation On Earth; Mvt. 2 In nThe Theater; Mvt. 3 Who? Who? Who?; Mvt. 4 Stride out And Dig; Mvt. 5 Few Worlds Ahead; Mvt. 6 There Me Go; Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage [for Fannie Lou Harner); Pretty Flowers; Propagating the Same Type of Madness, that uh... [for Fred Hampton).


Melanie Dyer: viola; Alex Waterman: cello; Gwen Laster: violin; Charles Burnham: violin; Michael Wimberly: percussion; Ken Filiano: bass.

Album information

Title: Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: ESP Disk

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On the record

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