During the '70s, Art Ensemble of Chicago members Joseph Jarman and Famoudou Don Moye often performed outside the band as a duo, sometimes bringing in other musicians. Here, they made the inspired choice of the late, great South African bassist Johnny Dyani (founding member of the Blue Notes and long-time collaborator with musicians such as Abdullah Ibrahim and John Tchicai) resulting in a buoyant, joyful release. Dyani's opening "Mama Marimba," propelled by both his bass and voice, is an exceptionally infectious number and contrasts wonderfully with Jarman's ensuing "In Memory of My Seasons," a misty dirge featuring the composer's haunting flute work. Moye is ablaze throughout, notably backing Jarman's lovely sopranino on "Ginger Song," and Dyani's deep, throbbing bass is a joy. On the closing piece, "Ode to Wilbur Ware," the bass groove is as thick as honey, providing the framework for elaborate, coloristic percussion and plaintive bamboo flute, bringing the album to a rich, satisfying conclusion. Black Paladins was the Jarman/Moye duo's most successful effort, and one of the most rewarding projects either was involved with outside of the Art Ensemble. A delicious recording.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick