Requiem For Julius is a truly exceptional homage to the late great saxophonist/composer and cofounder of the "World Saxophone Quartet" - Julius Hemphill and may indeed represent one of the finest "WSQ" recordings in recent years. From the opening moments of famed drummer/composer Jack DeJohnette's rhythmically and melodically enticing composition, "Ebony" along with the subtle intricacies and complex big band style horn charts found on "All Praise" it becomes apparent that "WSQ" is performing within the classic framework and spirited approach witnessed on earlier releases. Shrewd soloing and multi-textural charts abound amid heart rendering passages, and the booming foundations set by baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, especially on the magnificent title track, "Requiem For Julius" - which boasts a memorably lyrical and melodic recurring theme that melds mournful voicings with radiant, uplifting lines! Here, the band raises the pitch and intensity in tandem with soprano saxophonist John Purcell's sonorous yet majestic phrasing as he states the affable melodies in often stirring fashion. "Le Sport Suite" commences with a few bars of swinging unison choruses which does indeed invoke thoughts of a pocket brass band performing the proverbial, "Rah-Rah", go get em', - cheerleader shtick. On this piece the musicians are having some good-natured fun or perhaps mimicking a sports event, yet they advance matters to the next - illogical - level by totally ripping the intentionally unassuming motifs to shreds by deconstructing the entire piece. Essentially, Requiem For Julius is a durable, multidimensional, fervent and altogether superfine recollection of the late great Julius Hemphill and undoubtedly one of the finest "WSQ" recordings in recent years. Highly recommended!
1) Ebony (Jack DeJohnette) 2) Free and Independent Thought (Hamiet Bluiett) 3) All Praise (John Purcell) 4) Requiem For Julius (David Murray) 5) Le Sport Suite (Oliver Lake) 6) Hurricane Floyd (David Murray) 7) Potato Vamp (Oliver Lake) 8) Tone Poem (Oliver Lake) 9) Blues (Bluiett - Murray - Lake - Purcell)
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Hamiet Bluiett; Baritone Saxophonist: Oliver Lake; Alto Saxophone: David Murray; Tenor Saxophone: John Purcell; Soprano Saxophone.