Mark Helias

Loopin' the Cool

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Although every musician is important on this stimulating session (the tightness of drummer Tom Rainey and percussionist Epizo Bangoura is not to be overlooked), one's attention is generally drawn to the three main voices. Bassist-leader Mark Helias contributed all of the compositions and arrangements and functions both as a member of the rhythm section and as a lead player. Violinist Regina Carter blends in colorfully with Ellery Eskelin's tenor and comes up with many inventive and unpredictable solos. Eskelin, who takes honors throughout the date, at times recalls both Clifford Jordan (in his sound) and prime Archie Shepp (the tonal distortions). The music in general is more conventional than the improvisations but also contains some unexpected moments and hints of both folk and Indian music along with advanced jazz. Easily recommended to adventurous listeners.

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