This adventurous, short-lived quartet only made three albums in its two-year heyday. The best and most easily obtained (although that's relative) is the classic 1964 self-titled free jazz excursion on the ESP label. The unique front-line horn arrangement of trombonist Roswell Rudd and Danish alto saxophonist John Tchicai weaves rapid intricate lines around Lewis Worrell's bass and the frenzied drums of Milford Graves. Poet Leroi Jones (now Amiri Baraka) is added to the quartet for his revolutionary/militant spoken word diatribe "Black Dada Nihilismus." While it may sound like an intrusion to some listeners, it must be kept in mind that Jones was an active participant in the early avant-garde scene of New York, making his contribution to this disc vital in capturing the radical surroundings in which the music thrived. In 2000, the intensity and fervor was still thriving as the original New York Art Quartet (with Baraka, sans the late Worrell) reunited for their 35th Reunion concert, available on the DIW label.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Al Campbell