231

Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet: Tabligh

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
From his seminal days in the late sixties as co-founder of the Creative Construction Company with fellow AACM members Leroy Jenkins and Anthony Braxton to his ethno-musical investigations with his Nda-Kulture ensemble, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has explored a dizzying array of musical genres and styles. His most recent projects have paid tribute to the early fusion experiments of Miles Davis, the most notable is Yo Miles!, a heavily electrified collective co-led by guitarist Henry Kaiser.

Smith's current touring group, the Golden Quartet, released their self-titled debut for Tzadik in 1999, which featured pianist Anthony Davis, bassist Malachi Favors Magoustous and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Year of the Elephant (Pi) followed in 2002, and while the overall instrumental make-up of the group remains the same today, the line-up has changed considerably since the 2004 passing of Magoustous. Vijay Iyer, John Lindberg and Shannon Jackson now form the current incarnation, which yields a more youthful, extreme and volatile mix.

The ensemble's third record, Tabligh was recorded live at the Red Cat in Los Angeles for the CalArts Creative Music Festival in 2005. The expansive set reveals the quartet's versatility, ranging from atmospheric ballads and searing electronic melt-downs to spacious aleatoric detours and fragmentary collective improvisations.

The aggressive spirit of Miles Davis' legendary Second Quintet and the fulminating ardor of his seminal electric period hangs heavy over the proceedings, yet there is a spartan quality to much of the quartet's efforts. For all the obvious nods to the past, the Golden Quartet approaches these epic pieces from a meditative angle—more akin to the restful spirituality of John Coltrane than the moody introspection of the Dark Prince.

"Rosa Parks" bookends a furious, Bitches Brew-inspired electronic maelstrom with wistful cries from the leader's trumpet. Iyer's sizzling Fender Rhodes, Lindberg's wah-wah bass, and Jackson's thunderous drums roil while the leader skitters above the fray, spewing brassy shards. "DeJohnette" inverts a haunting blues with an acoustic fusillade of free jazz expressionism as Iyer and Smith ply jagged, splintery cadences while Lindberg and Jackson uncoil torrid downbeats. The mysterious drama of "Caravan of Winter" introduces the ambitious title track which progresses from ambient pointillism to frenzied chaos.

A powerful document, Tabligh is a welcome reminder of Smith's continued importance in the continuum of creative improvised music.

Track Listing: Rosa Parks; DeJohnette; Caravan of Winter; Tabligh.

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet; Vijay Iyer: piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer; John Lindberg: bass; Shannon Jackson: drums.

Title: Tabligh | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Wadada Leo Smith
Rosa Parks: Pure Love

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Wadada Leo Smith
Solo: Reflections and...

Najwa

Najwa

Wadada Leo Smith
Najwa

Dred Scott: 1857

Dred Scott: 1857

Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers

South Central L.A. Kulture

South Central L.A. Kulture

Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions

Album Reviews
Year in Review
Multiple Reviews
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Live From New York
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Burning Meditation

Burning Meditation

NoBusiness Records
2018

buy
Araminta

Araminta

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Najwa

Najwa

TUM Records
2017

buy
Ocean of Storms

Ocean of Storms

Self Produced
2017

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun11Tue
Andrew Cyrille Vision Festival Lifetime Achievement...
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$40

Related Articles

Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019
Read Remembering Cecil Album Reviews
Remembering Cecil
By Dan McClenaghan
April 18, 2019
Read Apophenia Album Reviews
Apophenia
By Roger Farbey
April 18, 2019
Read Transcending the Sum Album Reviews
Transcending the Sum
By Chris May
April 17, 2019