229

Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society: When Colors Play

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Prior to Knit Classics’ recent reissue deluge all of Ronald Shannon Jackson’s recordings as a leader were out of print. This may not seem like much of travesty to those unfamiliar with Jackson’s catalog but when you consider that he had over a dozen albums to his credit the reality of the rate of attrition begins to sink in. Fortunately for everyone involved the Knitting Factory’s new reissue imprint has chosen Jackson (along with Rashied Ali) as one of the hubs of it’s new wave of releases. Brought back into circulation are a host of Jackson’s sessions including this live set recorded at the Caravan of Dreams.

The Decoding Society was Jackson’s working group during the 1980s and it had a somewhat revolving lineup based both on the schedules of the players and the ever-present specter of economics. The roster on display here is particularly strong and features the solid horn pairing of Zane Massey and Eric Person prominently alongside the tandem guitar thrust of Masujaa and Denigris. As the instrumentation might tip-off this group dips heavily into a Fusion bag, but other dominant elements spring forth from African and High Life influences that Jackson absorbed during his travels across the Continent. “Dance of the Spirit Catcher” gathers the troop in a heavily amplified formation flanked by the shimmering guitars of Dengris and Masujaa. The blinding fretwork of both players together and separately provides the center on most of the tracks, but Jackson’s industrious drums and the horns also supply strong solos. There’s a heady urban flavor with a pinch of funk that informs many of the pieces too that mixes surprisingly well with the more bucolic elements of the leader’s arrangements. Jackson’s percussive style was and is one of the most forceful in the business, as evidenced by his stints with such heavy-hitters as Cecil Taylor and Peter Brötzmann (in Last Exit), notably informed by Rock, but never a slave to it. Though the rhythms sometimes wallow in orthodoxy of presentation, as on the title track, the forward momentum of the music never falters. With releases like this one those who missed Jackson’s prolific run the first time around now have a golden opportunity to catch up to where he left off.

Tracks:Dance of the Spirit Catcher/ Ella Mae/ When Colors Play/ Black Blues/ Sweet Orange/ Green Coronas/ Purple Tongues.

Players:Ronald Shannon Jackson- drums; Eric Person- soprano & alto saxophones; Zane Massey- tenor & soprano saxophones; John Moody- electric bass; Cary Dengris- electric guitar; Masujaa- electric guitar.

Knitting Factory on the web: http://www.knittingfactory.com

| Record Label: Knit Classics | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Tierra" CD/LP/Track Review Tierra
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Parachute" CD/LP/Track Review Parachute
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Hecho En Puerto Rico" CD/LP/Track Review Hecho En Puerto Rico
by James Nadal
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 15, 2016
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!