203

Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy: When the Spirit Returns

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy: When the Spirit Returns Lester Bowie led the pack of avant-garde trumpeters in his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but his Brass Fantasy output was always in a more traditional vein, even when blending elements of funk, hip-hop, soul, rock, reggae, and any other musical influences that crossed the bandleader's mind.

Bowie passsed away in 1999, but two years earlier he took his Brass Fantasy into the studio and laid down two hours worth of music. When the Spirit Returns is the result, and it is perhaps the most traditional effort by him and the group, ranging from pure flowing harmonics to a more cacophonus New Orleans atmosphere while maintaining an in-the-moment contemporary feel. Bowie is out front a good deal, with his signature slurred, drawling lines, and the harmonics behind him, and other soloists – from four trumpets, three trombones, a French horn and a tuba – are a good notch or two above the previous Brass Fantasy outings; and absolutely gorgeous on "Count on Me." As on previous Brass Fantasy discs, Bob Stewart's slightly seismic tuba holds down the bottom end, while drummer and percussionist Vinnie Johnson and Victor See Yuen, respectively lay down subtle grooves behind it all.

When the Spirit Returns, recorded in 1997, features a mix of R&B and pop covers which date from that time and earlier. Songs from Notorious Big and TLC, Whitney Houston and Vanessa Williams, as well as Bob Marley's "One Love," act as starting points for Bowie's signature jazz departures.

The arrival of When the Spirit Returns had this fan pulling out the earlier Brass Fantasy discs to see if the initial impression that this was the best of the lot held true. For me, it does: the layered harmonics and soloing are on a different plane from earlier discs, and the songs – even if you're not up on '97 pop and R&B standards – are all perfect vehicles (because he makes them such) for Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy. That opinion, for other Brass Fantasy fans, will depend on the personal "out-there versus traditional" outlook. This one is has a start-to-finish accessiblity.

Track Listing: Player Hater, Waterfall, Count on Me, Solitude, Biggie's Ride, One Love, Unchained Melody, Naakkurat Na, Save the Best for Last, When the Spirit Returns

Personnel: Lester Bowie, Ravi Best, Gerald Brazel,Joseph "Mac" Gallehan--trumpets; Bob Stewart--tuba; Vincent Chancy--French horn; Luis Bonilla, Joshua Roseman Gary Valente--trombones; Vinnie Johnson--drums; Victor See Yuen--percussions; Dean Bowman--vocals

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966" CD/LP/Track Review Got A Mind to Give Up Living: Live 1966
by Doug Collette
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Mediterrana" CD/LP/Track Review Mediterrana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!