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Monday, May 19, 2014

Roscoe Mitchell - Conversations II (Wide Hive, 2014) ****½

By Josh Campbell

Picking up right where Roscoe and company left off is Conversations II. Culled from the same 2 days in the studio as Conversations I, the music is in the same vein, exploratory. The main difference between this second record and the first, is a more mellow tone throughout. The musicians appear to become more and more comfortable on the collection of songs. Now its hard to determine without better documentation of the recording set order, but Conversations II feels more cohesive, where Conversations I felt more like a “let’s get to know each other” collection.

Although this is not the explosive up and down roller coaster that the first disc yielded, it deserves a place on the shelf next to the first one. Often times with a multi-disc set I’m left wondering if they had chopped the best material down to one disc would the experience be better. With these two albums, I can say that both discs warranted release, due mainly to the difference in the feel of the music. And had they chose to release one album vs. two, fans of this music would surely have missed out on some amazing music. The “negative” of Conversations I as the artwork for II is very fitting. I can’t recommend one disc over the other but I can absolutely recommend picked up at least one of these if not both. I do believe Wide Hive has plans to release these albums on vinyl in the near future.