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 LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Nomade Orquestra" CD/LP/Track Review Nomade Orquestra
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Close Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Close Enough
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Goodbye to Language" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye to Language
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!