Amina Claudine Myers

The Circle of Time

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In terms of depth, spirit, originality, and diversity, this is the recording that best brings those vibrant elements of Aminda Claudine Myers' musicianship to ultimate fruition. With bassist Don Pate and drummer Thurman Barker, Myers freely explores jazz, blues, and gospel-tinged creative music in her own inimitable way. All of these six pieces were written by Myers, each showcasing a different side of her joyous persona, making her music deep, listenable, tuneful, and emotional.

Starting off with the hot instrumental modal bop number titled "Louisville," the pianist proves to be a capable, refreshing melodicist in this area, with Pate's complimentary lines to the piano and Barker's crackling drums setting the upbeat pace nicely. "Plowed Fields" has a loose structure with equally peaceful and soulful, tender and poignant motifs. Myers sings the line "seeing the plowed fields, made me want to go barefooted, until my mother spoke of soles (souls?) tied to her feet." "Do You Want to Be Saved?" is an anthem for the ages -- organ and piano strains are overdubbed for this hip, steady tempo gospel blues. Inexorable caravan-like processional pacing for "Christine" has a dual line of Myers cascading piano apreggios with a deft chordal four-bar line that is dramatic and dynamic. Pate's avant bowed bass introduces "The Clock," which has several aspects of time musically represented. Creaking bass, meandering piano, free stride, and completely free segments are featured, and are liable to speed or slow at a moment's notice. "The Circle of Time" further illuminates this with the lyric "time moves by slowly, time moves by quickly." Myers adopts a little girlish falsetto over another patiently slower, steady rhythm, injecting ai-yi-yis in a rather Native American inflection on this song that represents Myers at her creative, free-flowing zenith. This recording and Sings Bessie Smith are must-buy items for fans of this brilliant musician, and iconic signposts for where African-American expressionism can be directed.

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