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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Alvin Fielder Trio - A Measure Of Vision (Cleanfeed, 2007) ***

Alvin Fielder is a jazz-drummer and a pharmacist and one of the founding members of the AACM in Chicago, a highly unusual combination. "A Measure Of Vision" is a collaboration with Chris Parker on piano, Dennis Gonzalez on trumpet and the latter's sons figure as guests : Stefan on vibes and Aaron on bass. The first two pieces are relatively introspective, and because of the line-up and of Gonzalez's tone, remind me a little of Tomasz Stanko. That changes with "Camel", the third and longest piece, where Aaron's bass sets a different tone, and the whole vision becomes more expansive, with great soloing, first from father Gonzalez, to be followed by Chris Parker, Aaron Gonzalez and Alvin Fielder. Musically the album wants to reconcile the old with the new, and some of the titles als hint at this attempt to close the divide between the generations : "Your Sons and Daughters Shall Prophesy", "Your Young Men Shall See Visions", "Your Old Men Shall Dream Dreams". Whatever the bullshit, these gentlemen know what music is : they quote freely from the jazz songbook, yet bring it at times to a high level of abstraction, blending genres. The last piece "The Cecil Taylor - Sunny Murray Dancing Lesson" is a real treat. Fielder is strong, an economical drummer who accentuates with precision. The revelation for me on this CD is pianist Chris Parker, whom I didn't know, and who lifts the album above the average.