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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Roscoe Mitchell - Sustain and Run - Ao Vivo Jazz na Fábrica (Selo SESC SP, 2016) ****

Roscoe Mitchell. Do you really need an introduction to this man? Founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and the Creative Arts Collective. An unrelenting explorer of all aspects of music who is currently the Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College. Mitchell’s work stretches across the music spectrum, from solo improvisations to compositions for orchestras around the world. There is a strong argument to be made that Roscoe Mitchell is THE great American composer of the last 50 years.

Sustain and Run - Ao Vivo Jazz na Fábrica is Mitchell’s new solo album recorded live in Brazil in 2013. Right from the start, Mitchell shows a fire-breathing intensity unmatched by most other players. The music is heavy, exploring the more extreme registers of his horn. The name of the album is actually a good description of the music. It is like listening to Mitchell deliver a monologue from Samuel Beckett, the notes and rhythms twist back upon themselves emerging as new ideas that drive the improvisations forward. This is an album that demands your attention, one that won’t allow you to do anything else but listen. It should come with a warning about operating heavy equipment while listening.

A rewarding listen and an excellent addition to the massive Roscoe Mitchell discography. It’s beautiful to see Mitchell is continuing to be this creative after more than five decades.


Anonymous said...

A bit more than 230 words for such an excellent album? 50% is about Mitchell’s biography. About the music there are about 50 words. What’s even worse, the article is full of set phrases that could be used for any free jazz album. “The music is exploring the more extreme registers of his horn“. Really? Isn’t this Mitchell’s style in general? As well as Evan Parker’s, Ivo Perelman’s or Mats Gustafsson’s? “This is an album that demands your attention“ - is there an album which doesn’t demand our attention? Sorry to say that, but after your really excellent week about German festivals this is a rather disappointing review. It’s not meant to be personal, I know you can do better.

Karl Ackermann said...

Much of what opened my ears to free jazz was based on very concise reviews in the Penguin Guide. It was enough to peak my interest. As a jazz journalist of some seven years I'm often frustrated by my own self-imposed need to say more when less is good enough. If you know that this particular writer can "do better", perhaps you could provide an example and write your own review. The Free Jazz Collective is always open to feedback.

Karl Ackermann