120

B.Lancaster/ O.Pope/ E.Crockett/ J.R. Mitchell: Philadelphia Spirit in New York

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Philadelphia certainly seems to receive only grudging affirmation in relation to other urban centers in the larger cosmology of creative improvised music. It’s a crime considering the fact that a solid scene has been thriving there for years. New York and Chicago may have the corner market, but bands like this jointly fronted quartet are surely gaining ground through the purity and convictions conveyed through their collective sounds. Byard Lancaster is something of a cottage industry and figurehead himself. As a grass roots promoter, educator, political activist and near-legendary improvisor he’s helped sustain a vibrant musical community alongside equally influential colleagues such as Khan Jamal. His 1992 self-published manifesto, Horn Works: Music Discipline is virtually required reading for any musician seeking improvised expression as a means of creative and financial survival.

Teaming with old colleague Pope and piloting a small Philly delegation to the Spirit Room he sets up shop with a set of music that has all the passion and flavor of a street corner sermon. The majority of compositions (all save one, originals) are arranged for maximum blowing potential riffing off highly emotional melodic centers and relatively basic, but effective, rhythmic vamps. By keeping things comparatively simple on the composing front the pair place emphasis where it rightfully belongs, in the playing.

On “People From Zimbabwe,” the horns spiral out in unison and isolation above a supple, undulating rhythm. An effusive, Mingusian harmony serves as center for the balladic “Philly in 3, Part II” with Odean taking first honors on tenor and Byard moving to the fore shortly thereafter for a stirring run of phrases on alto. The band affords Eric Dolphy’s “Miss Ann” a brisk, but textured rendering with the horns twisting through the angular head before striking out on divergent tonal paths. “Sanctuary Blessing” is a mere tone poem of two minutes, but the four players still manage to pack a mountain of pathos into the piece. “Collage” is just what the title implies, a patchwork splicing of juxtaposed harmonic lines brought into bold relief by raging rhythmic undercurrent. Saxophones are the prime frontline voices, but Lancaster’s loquacious flute does surface on tracks like “Blues for a Beautiful Brother” and the lovely “Ballad for Sabina.”

Most striking is the fierce sense of pride and expressive purpose conveyed by these Philadelphia musicians, which is palpable throughout this highly visceral disc. This set proves that Philly isn’t the home of the Liberty Bell for nothing. The Revolutionary War artifact’s symbolic features have bled beautifully into the city’s musical subculture and the clarion call “Let Freedom Ring” is just as poignantly appropriate to today’s music as it was to the original context of our Nation’s birth. Bottom line: it’s time the Philly contingent received the props it so richly deserves!

CIMP on the web: http://www.cadencebuilding.com

Track Listing: People From Zimbabwe/ Philly in 3 Part II/ F25/ Miss Ann/ Suite for Two/ Sanctuary Blessing/ McCoy T/ Collage/ Blues for a Beautiful Brother/ Looking Out/ Ballad for Sabina/ Cogency.

Personnel: Byard Lancaster- alto saxophone, bells, flute; Odean Pope- tenor & soprano saxophones; Ed Crockett- bass; J.R. Mitchell- drums. Recorded: January 23 & 24, 2001.

| Record Label: CIMP Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "As The Wind" CD/LP/Track Review As The Wind
by John Eyles
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Jassemblage" CD/LP/Track Review Jassemblage
by Chuck Koton
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!