8 Bold Souls - Last Option CD

Excellent AACM octet from Chicago that I had the great pleasure of seeing (after many years of wanting to) at Edgefest, 2006, and man they were fantastic. So, now they and this - their most recent although not new - album is here. "Band leader Edward Wilkerson Jr., is a jazz auteur in the tradition of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus: his compositions integrate a staggering sum of musical information without calling attention to their own cleverness. "Third One Smiles" has a funky swagger that'd make the Adderley brothers proud; the dirge "The Art Of Tea" wouldn't sound out of place at a New Orleans funeral; and "Odyssey" sounds quite, well, Ellingtonian. Like his forbears, Wilkerson writes with his musicians' skills in mind. They reward him with impassioned solos and, more importantly, disciplined ensemble work. Wilkerson writes sumptuous arrangements that generate much more sound than you'd expect from eight players; the leader and Mwata Bowden help perpetrate this illusion by playing five reeds between them, and Gerald Powell's tuba and Dushun Mosely's fleet drumming lay down an amply proportioned rhythmic foundation. Bassist Harrison Bankhead and cellist Naomi Millender bow exquisite shadings that reveal Wilkerson's affection for early 20th-century impressionistic composer Maurice Ravel, while trumpeter Robert Griffin and trombonist Isaiah Jackson add sugar and vinegar to the mix. Never mind the bleak title, the jubilant music on Last Option holds hope for jazz's future."-Bill Meyer
  • LabelThrill Jockey
  • UPC790377007121
Your Price $16.00

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