Two complete LPs by the Art Ensemble of Chicago are reissued in full on this single CD. Recorded in Paris originally for the BYG label, these intriguing and diverse performances feature the Art Ensemble when they were a quartet (before drummer Don Moye joined). Trumpeter Lester Bowie, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman, and bassist Malachi Favors all are heard playing many other instruments; for example, Jarman plays soprano, alto, clarinet, oboe, flute, marimba, vibes, congas, bells, whistles, gongs, siren, and guitar. The wide-ranging music mostly succeeds at looking both backwards (in eccentric ways) and toward the future. Of particular interest are "Old Time Religion," some credible bebop on "Dexterity," the funky "Rock Out," a demented "The Waltz," and the lengthy jams on "Song for Charles" and "A Brain for the Seine." Fascinating and always-colorful music that certainly breaks down a lot of musical barriers.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow