402

Wadada Leo Smith: Luminous Axis

Farrell Lowe By

Sign in to view read count
Wadada Leo Smith: Luminous Axis Wadada Leo Smith has been a leading proponent of the creation of a new world music since the late '60s, in confluence with Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). Much like Don Cherry, Smith draws from a broad palate of world musics, and he's a musical pioneer of the highest order.

Luminous Axis features music for trumpet with electronics, flugelhorn, computer-driven electronics, and percussion. The music presented here is spacious, thoughtful, and imbued with an overall gentleness that is quite compelling. It is also quite adventurous in conception and execution—this is not an easy music to pull off. Smith's command of his instrument is stunning; he produces split tones, fiery chromatic cascades, wide intervallic leaps, or breathy overtones with a master's deft touch. His use of electronic instruments in these compositions is the finest integration of acoustic and electronic mediums I've ever heard. His use of percussion in conjunction with electronic sounds is brilliant; the results are fused into a singular expression. This can only be accomplished by understanding the defining character of each musical event, whether that event is acoustic, electronic, gesture, or silence.

"Garden of the Heart" sounds like what sitting meditation feels like. There is a simultaneous quality of unrest and tranquility in this piece. Electronic voices shutter and whisper disturbing messages, swells of percussion add an unbalanced sense of being, and the trumpet counters with a "shining path" of beautiful melody. "Perfect Essence" visits the teeming landscapes developed by Miles Davis circa "Dark Magus" and puts a whole new feel to that vibe—and the piece is thirty-three seconds long!

"Radiant Light Gushing From The Sun" is filled with mysterious silences, strident trumpet flourishes, and delicate shadings of light and dark. "Night Splendor..." is haunted by strange cicadas, the ghost of Don Cherry, and dark pools of water. "Tango" offers a dancing jungle of subtle drumming and the fleeting shadows of playful, dangerous animals.

Wadada Leo Smith has put a lifetime of philosophy, study, experience—and a whole lot of soul—into these far-reaching compositions. Every selection on this disc is a synergy of arrangement, purpose, performance, heartfelt human experience, grace, and humility. Luminous Axis should draw emphatic interest from listeners curious about the exploration of modern compositional style and performance. It's simply brilliant.

Visit Tzadik at: www.tzadik.com

Track Listing: 1.Garden Of The Heart 2.Perfect Essence 3.Radiant Light Gushing From The Sun 4.Night Splendor, A Certain Moon Flow 5.Tango 6.Beauty 7.Fountain (Immortality) 8.Garden Of The Soul 9.Apples, Dates and Pomegranates 10.Light, Ginger, Olives And Musk 11.Harp: A Gleaming Sama 12.Fountain (Lore) 13.Camphor 14.Caravans Of Winter And Summer 15.The Traveler

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith-trumpet and flugelhorn with electronics Tim Perkis-computer driven electronics Chris Brown-computer driven electronics Mark Trayle-computer driven electronics John Bischoff-computer driven electronics Ikue Mori-computer driven electronics William Winant-percussion

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Music of Weather Report" CD/LP/Track Review Music of Weather Report
by John Ephland
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Live in Japan" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Japan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 5, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!