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Mouthpiece represents previously unreleased material from 1973 by the late John Stevens of “Spontaneous Music Ensemble” fame. And interestingly enough, there is no record of the personnel who perform here under Stevens’ direction. Hence, this large ensemble known as the “Spontaneous Music Orchestra” offers more in the way of drummer/trumpeter and visionary John Stevens’ penchant for group improvisation and interaction. Here, Stevens directs the band and performs exclusively on trumpet and somewhat surprisingly, the music and overall concepts sound amazingly fresh! Throughout, the musicians harvest a huge wall of sound via bending notes, microtonal passages from the strings and horns amid talkative dialogue and emotional outpourings. There’s even a drone-like vocal chant on “Sustained (vocal)” as the musicians seemingly pursue some sort of sacred or mystical vow, yet on the title track “Mouthpiece”, various members of the band elicit bird-like chirping sounds amid swirling charts and glaring horns. - With this release, we get another hearty glimpse of Stevens’ pioneering ways as we hope the folks at “EMANEM” continue to find or unearth worthy material of this ilk.........
* * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Track listing: 1) In Relationship To Silence 2) Sustained Piece (Instrumental) 3) Sustained Piece (vocal) 4) ICA Theatre 5) Ealing Technical College
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.