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Smith, Wadada Leo - Spiritual Dimensions 2 x CDs
Spiritual Dimensions is a double album that features two very special groups, both filled with truly great and legendary musicians! Both discs were recorded live to capture the energy and spirit that Smith's shows have.
The first disc is by Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quintet and was recorded at Vision Festival XIII in New York City. The lineup is Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, Vijay Iyer on piano and synthesizer, John Lindberg on bass and dual drummers Pheeroan AkLaff and Don Moye. This disc is mostly acoustic, modern/avant jazz with distinctive electric touches, especially towards the end. It features many of the hallmarks of Smith's work; space, depth, melody and abstraction. The group performs five of Smith's compositions and while it's very much the work of a group, it's also quite obvious that the trumpeter is the leader, as his very distinctive trumpet work, which ranges from peppery outbursts to subtle smears and whispered interjections, points down the path that the group follow.
The second disc is the first-ever release by Wadada Leo Smith's Organic, which is a completely different kind of beast. Recorded at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT., this is a electric group that is most notable for the fact it features four-guitarists! Performing are Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, Michael Gregory, Nels Cline, Brandon Ross and Lamar Smith on electric guitars, Okkyung Lee on cello, Skuli Sverrisson on electric bass, John Lindberg on acoustic bass and Pheeroan AkLaff on drums. The band stomp and burn through 4 lengthy tracks (all between 12 and 19 minutes long), all composed by Smith. Although the music is more unmistakably groove-driven than on the first disc, many of the same touchstones appear; Smith's strong style and control remain, although they manifest themselves differently. The easiest comparison between the albums can be drawn by listening to the two different versions of the composition South Central L.A. Kulture, which appears at the last track by the Golden Quintet and as the first track by Organic; its inclusion here in two versions is a good example of how Smith’s compositions can mutate to embrace new settings.
"...not only as inventive and adventurous as he was when he was a younger player, but his creativity and ability to direct a band into new territory is actually farther reaching than ever before. This is brilliant work." – All Music Guide
You can hear a track off of the album here
Check out this video excerpt from one of the concerts on the album - note that the sound on here is right off of the video camera - it does not represent the professionally recorded sound found on the album!
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