Various Artists

Cimposium, Vol. 12

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The 12th sampler from CIMP documents the label's move toward artists using composed material and away from collective blowouts. The label, which features adventurous music in audiophile sound, first made its name for its espousal of freewheeling sessions showcasing avant garde all-stars. More and more the frameworks for the music seem more controlled, although the blowing they inspire still shreds conventional expectations. Just how far-ranging the improvisation can get is not always evident on these 15 tracks, which include one cut from each of the sessions recorded from March 2002 to January 2003. The material is presented in accessible sections not much more than seven minutes long, with several clocking in at less than four. Producer Robert Rusch accomplishes this by presenting segments of performances. Seven tracks are so truncated. That can be frustrating, as when Roy Campbell really starts to launch into his solo on "Odean." Campbell is one of the CIMP regulars who show up in what proves to be a web of interrelated sessions. The opening cut is a tribute to him, followed by his appearance on a cut dedicated to another CIMP stalwart Odean Pope. Pope himself shows up on "Two Fellas" in a quartet led by alto saxophonist Carl Grubbs. Two dedications -- "Invocation for Wilber," by pianist Lucian Ban and saxophonist Alex Harding, and "The Dream Catcher," by drummer Kevin Norton's quartet -- are dedicated to the memory of Wilber Morris, who appeared on many CIMP sessions and was scheduled to be the bassist for Norton's date. Two of CIMP's most prolific participants -- bassist Dominic Duval and trombonist Steve Swell -- make multiple appearances, including the compilation's oddest track. "1940-1949 Painful 'Hip' Recollections" is part of a session dedicated to elderly jazz fan Bob Washington's memoirs in verse. Duval and Swell provide the only accompaniment, evoking everything from swing to free. CIMPosium, Vol. 12 also has a rare CIMP vocal performance by Kelly Meashey with bassist Dylan Taylor, free bopping on the classical themes "Simple Gifts" and "Ode to Joy." "Bluesy" features pianist Ursel Schlicht, another newcomer to the label. These samplers are given to those purchasing two or more CIMP recordings and are available for sale. For regular CIMP fans, they serve to tweak their memories of recordings they may have missed; for CIMP neophytes, they present an introduction to a sound world they would be remiss in not exploring.

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