All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

292

Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber: Making Love to the Dark Ages

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Composer Greg Tate leads Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber through melodic and harmonic structures, using a unique repertoire of physical gestures and expressions known not as conducting but as conduction.

Tate christened this ensemble to honor the communal exploratory nature of Sun Ra's Arkestra and the Wu Tang Clan's 36 Chambers: "I wanted to conflate those two mystical generations. Both are in the tradition of mystic composers. Their sound comes from these ideas about science and art and philosophy and spirituality. As a listener to both of them, you feel like the metaphysics are as important as the music; they're kind of interwoven, and I wanted to allude to both of them."

As can be surmised from Tate's explanation, Dark Ages is a sprawling, audacious survey of not only jazz (Sun Ra) and pop (Wu Tang) but of blues, gospel, pretty much every corner of the Afro-American musical spectrum, within song titles as evocative as the music they represent.

"Thorazine/81"—inscrutably co-credited to Tate, Miles Davis and Ron Carter—comes closest to one of Ra's (in)famous interstellar overdrives: While multiple soloists (including a wordless vocalist) simultaneously wail the blues, its repeating rhythm riff seems to just pound the body, then reach critical mass, explode, and then to simply fall apart. It ends in whispered acoustic piano and other instruments, as if Tate's living, breathing ensemble needed to catch its living breath.

"Chains and Water (A, B, C)" opens as a duet between a female voice and harmonica, both wailing the blues ("I never cottoned to no slavery" is a great opening line whose time seems long overdue) but ultimately passes through twenty different musicians. The rhythm session shuffles in to expand the rhythm, then other instruments expand the sound, which culminates in Rene Akan's "Part B" screaming jazz-rock electric guitar solo, then sort of wobbles, and then gets straightened out by old-school, upright walking bass and drums.

For those wondering: Tate might not be mining the most original sound, but it's a pleasure to report that Dark Ages sounds only remotely like Miles Davis' (in)famous electric ensembles exactly one time—when Lewis "Flip" Barnes' electric trumpet comes ghosting in and out of the title track "Part A"—and even this sonic similarity lasts only a few measures. The rest of that title track, as well as the rest of Dark Ages, sounds like many things, and "original" stands chief among them.

Track Listing: Chains and Water A, B, C; Thorazine/81; Love to Tical; Dominata (the gabri ballad); Making Love to the Dark Ages.

Personnel: Greg Tate: guitar, laptop, conduction; Lisala Beatty: vocals; Jeremiah: vocals; Lewis 'Flip' Barnes: trumpet; Satch Hoyt: flute, percussion; Matana Roberts: alto sax; Petre Radu Scafaru: tenor sax; Mikel Banks: harmonica; Rene Akan: guitar; Vijay Iyer: piano; Bruce Mack: synthesizer; Jason DiMatteo: acoustic bass; Shahzad Ismaily: efx bass; Jared Michael Nickerson: electric bass; Chris Eddleton: drums; Will Martina: cello; Michael Veal: soprano sax, slap electric bass; Micah Gaugh: alto sax; Avram Fefer: alto sax, bass clarinet; 'Moist' Paula Henderson: baritone sax; David Smith: trombone; Mikel Banks: freak-a-phone; Ben Tyree: guitar; Trevor Holder: drums; Abby Dobson: vocals; Karma Johnson: vocals; Latasha Natasha Nevada Diggs: elec. vocals; Vernon Reid: guitar; Swiss Chris: drums; W-Myles Reilly: piano; Justice Dilla X: vocals, piano; Derrin Maxwell: vocals; Mazz Swift: violin; Andrew Lassalle: guitar; Meret Koehler: drums.

Title: Making Love to the Dark Ages | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: LiveWired Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Live from Stern Grove Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live from Stern Grove Festival
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Dream Within A Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Two in a Box" CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Donora Autumn" CD/LP/Track Review Donora Autumn
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017