110

Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet The Prairie Prophet is the fifth release on Delmark from reed player Ernest Dawkins and his band. It's clear that over the course of that association both leader and band have evolved to the point where they can be considered as one of the more vibrant, most urgently alive outfits on the scene. This album pays homage to the late and lamented tenor saxophonist and fixture on the Chicago scene, Fred Anderson, in whose Velvet Lounge these guys have also diligently worked at their craft. As a consequence, the music is simultaneously tight and loose and the manifestation of a stirring collective identity in everything they do.

The opening gospel-inflected ballad ("Hymn For A Hip King") features the distinct instrumental personalities of trumpeters Marquis Hill and Shaun Johnson, with the leader's alto sax heatedly preaching in between and the rhythm section exploring all manner of nuances all the while.

"Sketches" is something else altogether but it's pulled off with aplomb. Guitarist Jeff Parker turns in one of the most extraordinary solos of the date and is joined by bassist Junius Paul's urgent outing.

"Mal-Lester" is Dawkins' homage to both bassist Malachi Favors and trumpet player Lester Bowie, both men stalwarts of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a collective which has done much for the dissemination of that city's creative improvised music. It's a piece which carries the hallmark of having been constructed from the bottom up, thanks largely to the rhythm section's sympathy and drive. On tenor sax, Dawkins may not be as compelling as he is on alto, but his solo still more than matches the lithe grace of the accompaniment, in which Parker's off-beat work avoids the obvious as though it was life-threatening.

"Shades of the Prairie Prophet" exemplifies how the band can straddle seemingly contradictory musical territories with ease. In its rhythmic rolling the piece has no shortage of urgency about it, but Parker's accompaniment and trombonist Steve Berry's solo imbue the music with a sense of measured grace which in lesser hands would perhaps result only in the music breaking down. With a band of this caliber, the unit's overall cohesion avoids any potential breakdown.

Track Listing: Hymn For A Hip King; Sketches; Balladesque; Mal-Lester; Shades Of The Prairie Prophet; Mesopatamia; Baghdad Boogie.

Personnel: Marquis Hill: trumpet; Shaun Johnson: trumpet; Steve Berry: trombone; Ernest Dawkins: alto sax, tenor sax; Jeff Parker: guitar; Junius Paul: bass; Isaiah Spencer: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Back In Your Own Backyard CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin' CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Through The Glass CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "I Just Want to Get Paid!" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Want to Get Paid!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Live in New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live in New York
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Penumbra" CD/LP/Track Review Penumbra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Free World Music" CD/LP/Track Review Free World Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Uptown Down" CD/LP/Track Review Uptown Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

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!