A three-horn front line, led by Cecil Taylor's trumpeter, ranges from utterly lyrical freedom to tearing-the-house-down full group improvs. With Glenn Spearman on tenor.
1. Companions (R. Malik) -Listen to Sample
2. Trumpet-Drum Duo (Malik & Warren)
3. Trumpet-Bass Duo (Malik & Warren) -Listen to Sample
4. Tenor (Malik) -Listen to Sample
5. Pierre's Way (improvised)
Iconoclastic pianist Ran Blake and the late saxist Clifford Jordan combined their considerable talents on Masters From Different Worlds (Mapleshade) for an unlikely, but endlessly intriguing, album. Jordan, who died a year ago, stepped outside his usual identity as a post-bop proponent for a more exploratory approach. Blake, a misunderstood jazz maverick of immense talent, was as unpredictable as ever. Together they took on everything from Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo to John Lennon's Julia with four Blake originals thrown in for good measure. The contexts varied with trombonist Julian Priester and the Windmill Saxophone Quartet joining in from time to time, but it was the unique Jordan/Blake musical chemistry that elevated the sessions far above the norm. -Michael Point
The liner notes of Raphé Malik's CD says it explores the lyrical side of the avant garde. It does but not always in the 'sweet and slow' rhythms mentioned in the title. The opening "Companions" does as promised with Malik and c-melody sax player Brian Nelson winding along in long, deliberate lines. It starts out like the growling roar of Coltrane's "Ascension" but works up its own brand of cooler fire. Malik and Nelson each play quietly but very intently working up a palpable tension in front of Jamyll Jones' throbbing bass and Dennis Warren's restless drumming. The trumpet and bass duet between Malik and Larry Roland is a quiet gem as well, the trumpeter softly crying the blues with both muted and open horn against meticulous bass throbs.
Malik's duet with Warren is a much heavier item, a slowly building conversation that eventually reaches a furious pace with Malik playing short, violent phrases that sound a lot like the devices of his old employer, Cecil Taylor. Tenor really kicks out the jams. Malik's old partner in the Taylor Unit, Glenn Spearman joins Malik and Nelson for a liberating three-horn extravaganza, the front men exchanging dizzying arpeggios and elongated notes while Warren and Roland fulminate madly beneath. Slow or fast this is wildly exciting stuff. -Jerome Wilson
Free jazz lives! Trumpeter Raphé Malik (best known for his association with Cecil Taylor) gathered together his piano-less quartet (with Brian Nelson on C-melody sax) for three marathon sessions that resulted in enough music to fill four CDS. The plan is to release two sets, with the initial one emphasizing more lyrical (if not necessarily mellow) improvisations. Malik's loose but logical frameworks feature the musician traveling through evolving moods, and the consistently adventurous music is more melodic than one might expect. Two of the five originals are quartet pieces; Malik (a talented and versatile player) is showcased in separate duets with either bassist Larry Roland or Dennis Warren; and tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman makes the group a quintet on one selection. Since the emphasis is on utilizing space and thoughtful moods, this release from Mapleshade's subsidiary OutSounds is quite accessible for listeners with open ears. -Scott Yanow