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Legendary trumpeter, educator Wadada Leo Smith is a very active neo- jazz iconoclast with appearances as a guest artist and co-leader or when producing critically acclaimed albums such as his resplendent civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers (2012, Cuneiform Records). Partnering with nascent jazz pianist Angelica Sancheza member of Smith's Golden Quartet and Organic bands signals an intriguing proposition. With the trumpeter's bronze-toned proclamations and paramount sense of authority, Sanchez is at times nestled in a supporting role as she effectively comps, shadows and shades his strapping choruses while also supplying the rhythmic impetus.
Linked with an occasional breathy rasp, Smith propels a kaleidoscopic array of emotive sentiment as Sanchez excels as a sublime catalyst. And as a whole, the production contains an undulating string of ebbs and flows. Even though these works are premised on varying concentrations of structure, the duo shifts the tide while casting ethereal interludes into the mix, partly initiated by Sanchez' faint manipulations of the piano strings.
On "Echolocation," they render a quaintly mutated panorama of stops and starts, as if they're recycling mini-motifs on the fly. Here, Smith's probing choruses are gingerly supported by Sanchez' succinct and ever-so-gentle notes with imagery paralleling impressions of the still of night. Yet "In The Falls of...," the musicians formulate a smoky, albeit abstract ballad that instills a quivering thematic foray lying somewhere between argumentative digressions and yearning sensibilities.
While Sanchez is a budding stylist in jazz and improvisation circles, Twine Forest imparts a reactionand perhaps justifiably sothat this pairing rings more like a student- teacher showcase. Regardless of whatever the initial gameplan was, the musicians communicate a rock-solid bond amid a reciprocal appreciation of each other's distinct artistry.
Track Listing: Cones of Chrome; Veinular Rub; Retinal Sand; Echolocation; Light Black
Birds; Twine Forest; In The Falls of…”; Ultimate Causes.
Personnel: Angelica Sanchez: piano; Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...