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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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While the title might conjure up a string of luminous tone poems, the reality of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's magisterial collection goes far beyond that. In fact Smith's notion of a national park encompasses not only the iconic landscapes, but also literary and cultural features. In any case as he explains, he draws his inspiration from the spiritual and psychological dimensions of a specific event or a place, rather than taking a straightforward programmatic approach. The result is Smith's most ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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2016 marks the centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. In honor of this auspicious occasion, celebrated trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith composed a titular six-part suite for the Golden Quintet, an augmented version of his long-running flagship quartet. Rather than simply attempting to transpose scenic vistas and natural grandeur into pure sound, Smith explains in the liner notes that he is more interested in the parks as an idea--one with socio-political overtones--hence the inclusion of tributes to the city ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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The U.S. National Park Service celebrates its centennial in 2016 (it was created in 1916 when Congress passed the Organic Act). There are many celebrations planned, but few are likely to match the power and individuality of Wadada Leo Smith's epic six-part suite. Over the two discs (a bit over 90 minutes total playing time) Smith explores the spiritual and psychological aspects of setting aside reserves for common property for the use of American citizens--and the political dynamics involved. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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In the last half-decade of the inspirational forty-five year career of Wadada Leo Smith, he has generated one bona fide masterpiece after another, building and expanding on the qualities that consistently push his music to an apex with no apparent upper limit. With his four-and-a-half hours Pulitzer Prize finalist Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform Records, 2012) he unleashed a succession of projects, some of epic stature, such as Occupy The World (TUM Records, 2013), The Great Lakes Suite (TUM Records, 2015), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has a feel for the epic in his art, on recordings like: America (Tzadik Records, 2009), a duet set with drummer Jack DeJohnette; “America's Third Century Spiritual Awakening," from his first Golden Quartet (Tzadik Records, 2000) outing; Occupy The World (TUM Records, 2013), with the Finish big band, Tumo; The Great Lakes Suite (TUM Records, 2014), and his massive four disc master work, Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform Records, 2012), inspired by America's civil rights movement.

LIVE REVIEWS

Wadada Leo Smith Golden Quartet at La Sala Rossa

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Wadada Leo Smith Golden Quartet La Sala Rossa Suoni Per Il Popolo Montreal, Quebec June 2, 2016 The Suoni Per Il Popolo, the annual June festival organized by the people at La Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo, opened its Sala Rossa portion of the program with a concert by trumpeter/composer/teacher Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quartet of Anthony Davis, John Lindberg, and Pheeroan akLaff playing music from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke

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In the liner notes for A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, pianist Vijay Iyer notes that he and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith would often become a sub-segment of the quartet in which the two played. Following their collaboration in New York City in 2015, ECM chief Manfred Eicher brought the two master artists together to make their unique chemistry a matter of record. At its core, the album is a suite dedicated to the late, influential Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke

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The expansion of the mind, or better yet, consciousness, can come from multiple approaches. Prayer, physical activity, hallucinogenic substances, and mathematics are but a few routes. All seem to distillate to one essence, that is quiet, the emptiness of silence. For prayer or meditation, the quiet is obvious. But also, great scientists and athletes tell us in the vacuum of space, problems are solved, and the game winning jump-shot is made in an almost slow-motion stillness. That same ...


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