295

Leroy Jenkins: Space Minds, New Worlds, Survival of America

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Leroy Jenkins: Space Minds, New Worlds, Survival of America The reactivation of the Tomato label comes as good news. What other imprint could boast a roster that included Doc Watson, John Cage, Townes Van Zandt, Harry Partch, and Sam Rivers? Now add Leroy Jenkins with his reissued title from 1978, Space Minds, New Worlds, Survival of America. That this quarter century old artifact sounds as fresh as it does testifies to the vision of its creators.

The all star band includes Andrew Cyrille on drums, a young Anthony Davis on piano, George Lewis on trombone, and Richard Teitelbaum on Modular Moog/Micro Moog Systems. Teitelbaum, who would go on to further distinguish himself as a composer and performer, had played with George Lewis and Anthony Braxton. His unique programming on the Moog protects the session from quaint-sounding 25-year old electronics. The album features a long track with a wide spectrum of mood and well-integrated electronics from Lewis and Teitelbaum; the latter sits out on the last four cuts, which are all acoustic. Jenkins and company work wonders on the collective improvs, gracefully weaving and circling each other.

The title track opens the six-part suite with a burst of radiant sound from the ensemble and the first theme. Teitelbaum’s Moog gives it the Space Minds effect. Portentous thunder and Cyrille’s drums introduce a group improvisation rich in textures and color, with Davis on electric piano, Teitelbaum’s sounds fading in and out, and Jenkins playing the haunting melody. Teitelbaum, Jenkins, and a plunger muted Russell play a notable passage, before Davis gets some different echo effects with his piano in duet with Cyrille. An alarm-like repeated figure introduces a freewheeling improv, with the band wailing around Teitelbaum’s metallic sound slabs. A very deliberate section follows, then Lewis and Jenkins soar over the free rhythm section and atmospheric electronics.

The acoustic set begins with “Dancing on a Melody,” the dancing done by Cyrille’s fleet brush work, soon taken up by Lewis’ trombone, while Davis and Jenkins play andante. “Clowns,” features antic playing on the head before the collective improv. “Kick Back Stomp,” allows the players plenty of blowing room. After Jenkins’ brief figure, the quartet kicks in following his intensifying playing, including plucking and bowing. Davis occupies a space between Lewis and Jenkins, and Cyrille, augmenting the performance. “Through the Ages Jehovah,” after a rather reverent opening, lurches along like an old time gospel number played loose and easy, full of feeling.

While the overall sound of the recording is good, Jenkins suffers from a dampened tone that blunts his highs. That flaw doesn’t disguise his technique or the frisky exchanges with Lewis. Now, if only the vault keeper at Tomato could access the Karl Berger/Don Cherry sessions...


Track Listing: track listing: Space Minds, New Worlds, Survival of America; Dancing on a Melody; the Clowns; Kick Back Stomp; Through the Ages Jehovah.

Personnel: Leroy Jenkins, violin; Andrew Cyrille, percussion; Anthony Davis, piano, electric piano; George Lewis, trombone, electronics; Richard Teitelbaum, Modular Moog, Micro Moog Systems

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Tomato Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Something Real" CD/LP/Track Review Something Real
by Doug Collette
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Serpentines" CD/LP/Track Review Serpentines
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Ubuntu" CD/LP/Track Review Ubuntu
by James Nadal
Published: September 8, 2016

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!

Buy it!