167

Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet The Velvet Lounge in Chicago, opened by Fred Anderson in the 1980s, is well-known for the adventurous bands it presents. Time cannot encapsulate the number of bands that played there, fueling an ongoing interest in free jazz. Saxophonist Ernest Dawkins was one who found a welcoming stage; he now pays tribute to Anderson, who died in 2010.

The New Horizons Ensemble has been together for a long time, and it shows in the assured and powerful performances that are made all the more commanding by Dawkins' compositions. Given their association, it isn't surprising that the band members can anticipate each other. "Sketches" sets it up perfectly, capturing the seamless interaction between Dawkins and trumpeters Marquis Hill and Shaun Johnson. The horns' piercing cries are propelled by drummer Isaiah Spencer and his dynamic range of colors. The door opens, and in comes trombonist Steve Berry, who drinks deep from the spirit before the pulse takes on a more sedate pace when Johnson comes in to solo. Guitarist Jeff Parker's darting lines and asymmetrical patterns cast another die, with the final evocation coming from bassist Junius Paul, whose pliant plucking loosens the plinth. All of the players have their say; all of them make a vital contribution.

" Mesopotamia" is inescapably Middle Eastern, an appealing examination of the musical form by Dawkins. His temperate modulations get deep into the groove, the unhurried examination exposing each strand of his movements to advantage. Parker can fathom unknown plateaus, and here he shows how he can be a minstrel as well, as he unveils his melodic side.

Dawkins turns notations into absorbing forms and sketches as he and his band venture away from the charts. Ideas become engrossing portraits that transmit light and shape and create realms of fascination. That is the power and the glory of this band.

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

Personnel: Ernest Dawkins: alto and tenor saxophone, percussion, vocals (2, 7); Marquis Hill: flugelhorn (1), trumpet (2, 3, 7); Shaun Johnson: trumpet (1, 2, 4); Steve Berry: trombone; Jeff Parker: guitar; Junius Paul: bass; Isaiah Spencer: drums.

Title: The Prairie Prophet | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Live at the Stone: Megaloprepus Caerulatus" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Stone: Megaloprepus Caerulatus
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Media vita" CD/LP/Track Review Media vita
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Apocalypse" CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.