Arthur Doyle

A Prayer for Peace

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A Prayer for Peace starts off with the same spine-tingling tenor madness that kicked off Arthur Doyle's classic Alabama Feeling back in 1977, and even if the saxophonist no longer has quite the same lung power he had back then, the passion is still very much in evidence. Doyle is featured here in a trio with drummer Scott Rodziczak and James Linton, who plays both bass and cornet. The rough-and-ready sound quality of a Doyle album tends to come as something of a shock in these days of crystal-clear recordings; the raw direct-to-DAT edge (though nowhere near as lo-fi as Doyle's solo offerings Songwriter and Plays and Sings From the Songbook) may be somewhat unsettling at first, but the force of this music quickly overrides superficial aesthetic considerations. Equally unsettling for newcomers to Doyle's universe are his vocals, which can come across as stoned ranting (an impression not helped perhaps by two track titles referring to "potheads") but are in fact nothing less than the perfect distillation of his improvising practice: His thematic material often takes the form of brief, iambic, and decidedly naïve melodic cells, and A Prayer for Peace makes it absolutely clear that his tenor, flute, and recorder function as natural extensions of his body/voice, all of which helps to explain why Doyle calls his music "free jazz-soul": It's worth bearing in mind that the man has worked with Donny Hathaway and Gladys Knight, as well as Milford Graves and Rudolph Grey.

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