Muhal Richard Abrams is the grand patriarch of the AACM. He set-up shop on the ground floor as a co-founder of the Association in 1965 and has since served as one of the guiding forces behind its direction and longevity. Things To Come From Those Now Gone was Abrams third album for Delmark. It’s the last to be reissued by the label and remains one of Abrams most eclectic offerings. As if in deference to his position as educator the gathering of players on hand for the date is largely made up of AACM students. Abrams makes use of the musicians’ blossoming talents in a broad variety of harmonic and melodic ways. The poignant “Ballad For New Souls” merges his plaintive keys with McMillian’s ethereal flute in a reverie, which is both soothing and seductive. The title piece charges the collective batteries in a different manner thanks to McCall’s rolling mallets and the one-two punch of Daugherty an McMillian’s saxophones.“How Are You?” shifts emotional gears once again wedding Jackson’s keening soprano wails to Abrams’ lyric chordal movements. Jackson’s command over her vocal tract is at times suspect, but artistry of the tune remains intact nonetheless. Brown moves from fluttering grace to emotive stridency over the space of “In Retrospect” as Abrams metronomic clusters keep time. On “1 And 4 Plus 2 And 7,” a duet which spreads across nearly a quarter of the disc’s duration Abrams makes the dubious decision to switch to synthesizer half-way through. His electric apparatus ends up sounding akin to a harpsichord and is actually quite an intriguing change from his acoustic keyboard. Unfortunately the interaction characteristic of the piece’s first half is largely absent in the second and it sounds frequently like Abrams is feeling out his instrument rather than employing it with assurance. “March Of the Transients,” a vehicle fueled on high octane hard-bop, closes the set out with spirited solos by the saxophonists and the leader. Overall, though a mixed bag both in terms of content and quality this disc still packs an appreciable artistic wallop and is a welcome return to circulation.
Tracks/Players:Muhal Richard Abrams- piano; with- Ballad For New Souls: Wallace McMillan- flute/ Things To Come From Those Now Gone: Wallace McMillan- alto saxophone; Edwin Daugherty- alto saxophone; Reggie Willis- bass; Steve McCall- drums; Wilbur Campbell- drums/ How Are You?: Ella Jackson- vocal; Emmanuel Cranshaw- vibes; Rufus Reid- bass/ In Retrospect: Ari Brown- tenor saxophone; Rufus Reid- bass/ Ballad For Old Souls: Emmanuel Cranshaw- vibes; Rufus Reid- bass/ 1 And 4 Plus 2 And 7: Steve McCall- drums; Abrams- synthesizer/ March of the Transients: Wallace McMillan- alto saxophone; Edwin Daugherty- tenor saxophone; Reggie Willis- bass; Wilbur Campbell- drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.