Muhal Richard Abrams

Roots of Blue

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In 1975, Abrams recorded the superb duo album Sightsong with bassist Malachi Favors. Eleven years later, he returned to this instrumental format with Cecil McBee, well known and regarded for his work in countless bands including those of Pharoah Sanders and Sam Rivers, and the results are mixed though enjoyable on their own terms. The jazzier selections ("Time Into Space Into Time" and "Metamor," for example) are less earthy than those on Sightsong, sometimes sounding reminiscent of the Tristano school of supple linearity rather than South-side Chicago grit. Abrams' tendency toward light, single-note runs seems to require more of a weighty counterbalance than McBee offers. Only the title track, a relaxed, languid blues, rises to the level that the listener expects given the caliber of the musicians at hand.

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