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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Fundamental Destiny (AECO, 2007) ****

This album was recorded during a live performance in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1991 and includes pianist Don Pullen along the usual line-up with Lester Bowie on trumpet, Malachi Favors Moghostut on bass, Famoudou Don Moye on percussion and Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell on reeds and percussion. And it's a great performance, starting with the long "People In Sorrow", a slow meandering percussion-driven piece over which the musicians weave their melodies and expressive lines, with the typical freedom and openness to join and leave the floor to someone else, yet with an approach coherent enough for Don Pullen to fit in well. The following tracks have more structure and melody, starting with the joyful "Song For Atala", also written by Mitchell, which brings an African ring to the music, but which provides the ideal rhythmic and harmonic backbone for Lester Bowie to shine. The title song, written by Jarman, has a more complex structure and a real free bop rhythmic approach with excellent soloing from the horns, but by Pullen too, whose piano playing adds this little extra to the music. The last track is "Odwalla/The Theme", an uptempo bopper offering the credits to the band, and an excellent applause-infused end for the album. All fun, all participation, all creativity, ending with Mitchell's salute :"Great Black Music, Ancient To The Future. We hope to see you again out there somewhere, meanwhile : love what you are!"

If only that were possible.... A must for all AEC fans. And we hope AECO may find more gems like this one in their archives.