mardi 11 janvier 2011

Wadada Leo Smith & Ed Blackwell - The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer

WADADA LEO SMITH & ED BLACKWELL - The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer (Kabell, 2010)

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, kalimba, voice
Ed Blackwell: drums

01. Uprising
02. Love
03. Seeds Of A Forgotten Flower
04. The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer
05. Mto- The Celestial River
06. Don't You Remember
07. Sellassie-I
08. Seven Arrows In The Garden Of Light
09. Buffalo People - A Blues Ritual Dance
10. Albert Ayler Is A Spiritual Light

The most magnificent moment of this year's Vision Festival was the duet between Wadada Leo Smith and Günter "Baby" Sommers, not only because of the fabulous playing and interaction of both musicians, but also because the trumpeter has made this format one of his own, delving into the possibilities and expanding them over the years. Lately his stellar "America" with Jack DeJohnette, his equally excellent "Wisdom In Time" with Günter Sommers, or his more meditative "Compassion" with Adam Rudolph.

Here we find him again in excellent company, with Ed Blackwell no less, the fabulous free jazz drummer who laid the foundations for his instrument's new role with the Ornette Coleman bands and Old & New Dreams. Like with Don Cherry on the historic "Mu", he is possibly the best partner for this kind of endeavor and also for Smith's concept of music : it is freedom while being based in African rhythms, blues and jazz. Blackwell is incredibly creative and expressive, adding little touches, shifting meters, reorganising the beats constantly, actively shaping the overall sound and melody. Just listen closely to the album's title track if you want to be convinced.

The title track also figured on the album with Jack DeJohnette as "Ed Blackwell, The Blue Mountain Sun Drummer". It's interesting to compare both performances: not only the difference in approach by both drummers - equally stunning, with DeJohnette having a lighter touch, more cymbal work, steadier in the rhythm, and Blackwell using his polyrhythmics on his toms without losing the beat, more African, but Smith's tone has also changed, become deeper, richer over the years, but interestingly his improvisational skills and his capacity of positioning the composition - of putting it right there in front of your ears as if there was no other choice for it to sound that way, despite the endless possibilities, are still there.

He plays some of the tunes from his "Kulture Jazz" album which was released on ECM in 1995: the bluesy song "Don't You Remember", "Uprising" and "Albert Ayler In A Spiritual Light". This also demonstrates how Smith nurtured his own ideas and compositions over the years and decades even.

Smith's trumpet playing is incredibly good as can be expected: he can be intimate and sensitive and bluesy, but he can be expansive, jubilant and soaring.

The performance was recorded live on October 23, 1986 at Brandeis University, Massachusetts. That's 24 years ago. The sound quality is excellent. How fantastic that we get to hear this. I hope there are still more gems in a drawer somewhere.

As usual, I can only recommend it. Highly.

Listen to this and you will feel so refreshed.

Just listen to this! (from Free Jazz)


4 commentaires:

  1. great one, just heard it a couple of weeks ago and i totally loved, i've got on my pocket another duo from wadada, i'll post it in a few days i hope

  2. Thank you very much for this one, a killer post.
    Keep up the great job here,
    best regards, K.

  3. Hi. Can you upload it in FLAC please please please?

  4. Sorry, I have only a mp3-copy...