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JAZZ FICTION

Last Song for Valentine Part 2-4: New York is Full of Lonely People

Read "Last Song for Valentine Part 2-4: New York is Full of Lonely People" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 It was late in the evening when Cory left the club. As always, he quickly became exhausted when he left the stage. It was not playing that was difficult. He was comfortable in his own skin on stage and often felt a real connection with the audience. It was a transient feeling and he could not catch everyone, but he played for someone and those who heard ...

IN PICTURES

The Art Ensemble of Chicago at the 2017 Time In Jazz Festival

Read "The Art Ensemble of Chicago at the 2017 Time In Jazz Festival" reviewed by Roberto Cifarelli

The Art Ensemble of Chicago were, as expected, one of the main attractions at Time in Jazz, the Festival organized for the thirtieth consecutive year by Italian trumpet player Paolo Fresu in his native city of Berchidda, in Sardinia. The line-up of the AEoC, which played a fiery set, featured the founding members Roscoe Mitchell on reeds and Famoudou Don Moye on drums and percussions, as well as Hugh Ragin on trumpet and Junius Paul on bass who ...

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Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Les Stances A Sophie

Read "Les Stances A Sophie" reviewed by Marcus O'Dair

They formed, of course, in the American city that constitutes part of their band moniker. But this 1970 album by the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, re-released on Soul Jazz, was in fact recorded in Paris, the four main AEOC members having formed part of the late '60s exodus that also brought to France Archie Shepp, Don Cherry and Anthony Braxton.

The location is significant because Les Stances A Sophie--a soundtrack for a 1971 New Wave film of the same title, ...

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Art Ensemble of Chicago: Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Live at Iridium

Read "Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Live at Iridium" reviewed by Troy Collins

It seemed that the tireless Art Ensemble of Chicago might have reached its denouement with the passing of Malachi Favors in 2004. Coupled with Favors' demise, Lester Bowie's death in 1999, six years after Joseph Jarman first resigned, seemed prophetic. Undaunted, the remaining original members soldiered on, and for the first time in their history, they recruited replacements for their fallen comrades.

Trumpeter Corey Wilkes, a sanguine young Chicagoan with a tenacious spirit, takes up the challenge of ...

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Art Ensemble of Chicago: Chi-Congo

Read "Chi-Congo" reviewed by Rex  Butters

The reissue of Chi-Congo fills a very big hole in the active Art Ensemble discography. Since the mid-1970 recording, these sessions have seen light on at least five other labels in different formats. Released between Certain Blacks and Live on Affinity, Chi-Congo introduces Famoudou Don Moye as the group's permanent percussionist. “We moved towards the direction of developing as percussionists before we took on another drummer, Roscoe Mitchell said recently in an AAJ interview with Fred Jung.

The title track ...

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Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Sirius Calling

Read "Sirius Calling" reviewed by Mark Corroto

If you want a very accessible introduction to the music of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sirius Calling is a great place to start. If you are a long time follower, it won't disappoint. The fourteen songs presented here are short in length, half clocking in at less then four minutes. Enough music to fill the 65 minute session, but nothing to try the patience of those seeking entry into the creative world of AEC.

With the passing of ...

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Art Ensemble of Chicago: Kabalaba

Read "Kabalaba" reviewed by Rex  Butters

With the recent passings of founding members Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors Maghostut, Art Ensemble of Chicago's reissues take on new resonance. With 1974's Kabalaba , the Art Ensemble performs with Muhal Richard Abrams at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival before an apparently appreciative and enthusiastic audience. With the elder musician present, the Art Ensemble more sincerely bulldozes the borders while downplaying its signature humor and theatrics.

The continuous performance begins with a segment called “Kabalaba-Bees." Several of the musicians ...

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Art Ensemble of Chicago: Tribute to Lester

Read "Tribute to Lester" reviewed by AAJ Staff

It's ironic that the longstanding Art Ensemble of Chicago, reduced here to a trio by the passing of trumpeter Lester Bowie, can have such an expansive sound. It's not just that these musicians work with several instruments each, or that these pieces span the range from meditative music to swing to free bop and the wild beyond. I guess decades of combined experience means that everyone knows where to share space and where to blow it up.

The ...

INTERVIEWS

A Fireside Chat With The Art Ensemble Of Chicago

Read "A Fireside Chat With The Art Ensemble Of Chicago" reviewed by AAJ Staff

I once read how Sam Rivers heard Billie Holiday and, listening to the anguish in her voice, wept. Jazz can be just that profound because it is history. But along with history comes the inevitable politics and prejudices. Jazz is not beyond such human frailties, but it can be. As exemplified by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz can be more than individuality, more than self-aggrandizement, and more reflective of the times. Without Lester Bowie, the Art Ensemble didn’t relegate ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Art Ensemble of Chicago: After Lester Bowie

Read "Art Ensemble of Chicago: After Lester Bowie" reviewed by Clifford Allen

After Lester Bowie, renowned trumpeter and regular Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC) member (daresay frontman) passed away in 1999, there was some question as to what the fate of the group would be. Of course, many lesser groups have folded with fewer catalysts than the death of a major contributor. But continue the group did, as a trio composed of Roscoe Mitchell, reeds and percussion; Malachi Favors Maghoustut, bass and percussion; and Don Moye, percussion. Now, as of The Meeting, ...

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Art Ensemble of Chicago: The Meeting

Read "The Meeting" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The average jazz listener's evolution into jazz-fan-dom might start in New York with Charlie Parker and Ellington, then fly across country to Los Angeles for Birth of the Cool and Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan, sticking with the major label offerings based on the two coasts. Chicago (or Madison, Wisconsin today) can slip under the radar of less devoted music fans.Which is a shame, because the Art Ensemble of Chicago is an essential experience.Trumpeter Lester Bowie ...

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Art Ensemble Of Chicago: The Meeting

Read "The Meeting" reviewed by Mark Corroto

We speak of the Art Ensemble of Chicago circa 2003 as being in a post-Lester Bowie era. The group's mighty founder and trumpeter passed away in 1999. Meanwhile, this recording and the trio session Tribute To Lester (ECM 2003) have been the only AEC recordings made in this new era.

But you may remember that the AEC was once distinguished as pre- and post-Joseph Jarman when he left the band in 1993. His return here doesn’t substitute ...