Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

88

Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Messenger

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
If these players are indeed looking towards new horizons, as the band's name suggests, then they're doing so from a vantage point rooted in the past, and their view of the past is of a worthwhile order. If a great many musicians regard it as something worthy only of the most submissive reverence, these guys view it as a happy, rambunctious place, where the joy of the moment is to be gripped with both hands, and the thrill of making music together can scarcely be equalled by any other life experience.

Similarly, the role of Chicago as a key to the history of the music is always in their view. In much the same way as the sound of the Stax label might have evoked some spirit of Memphis, so this music is steeped in Chicago.

If this can be defined musically as a simultaneously tight but loose feel, then these guys have got it down on the likes of "Meen Ameen," where they call to mind the Art Ensemble Of Chicago in the theme statement before Dawkins' alto sax evokes nothing but his own musical personality.

Their references to the past are not limited by geography. On "The Messenger" they capture the insistent nature of Benny Golson's "Blues March" as it was committed to posterity by an edition of Art Blakey's band. The leader's alto is forthright again, and trombonist Steve Berry swaggers like there's no tomorrow.

"Toucouleur" is something of a contrast, and perhaps the piece best exemplifies the amount of ground this band can cover whilst retaining its musical identity. Trumpeter Maurice Brown has maybe his best outing here, simultaneously reflective and ebullient, if only to show that it can be done—and how much fun the doing can be.

It might be fun that gets closest to the whole point of this music, and that it was recorded live in the old Velvet Lounge in Chicago places it right at the musical heart of its place of origin. The crowd that night must have had a ball.


Track Listing: Intro; Mean Ameen; The Messenger; Goin' Downtown Blues; Toucouleur; The Brood; Lookin' For Ninny.

Personnel: Ernest Dawkins: alto and tenor saxophones; Maurice Brown: trumpet; Steve Berry: trombone; Darius Savage: bass; Isaiah Spencer: drums.

Title: The Messenger | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "The Eleventet - Please Call" CD/LP/Track Review The Eleventet - Please Call
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Liquid Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Liquid Melodies
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor