Pianist and composer Dave Burrell's After Love was the seventh release on the French America Records imprint, a label dedicated to recording the works of American expatriates in Europe. A vanguard label from the outset, it documented the work of players like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, and many others. After Love is made up of the title track -- a long 30-minute-composition in two parts -- and "March." The band is a compelling and provocative one. While Roscoe Mitchell is featured on reeds, there are two bass players -- Ron Miller (who also plays mandolin) and Michel Gladieux. Alan Silva, normally a bassist, plays cello, (electric and acoustic) and violin. Don Moye and Bertrand Gauthier make separate appearances on drums. What is immediately striking is the lack of the piano's sonic presence on the session. It's here everywhere, but Burrell is going for something else on "After Love," and that is textural and harmonic interaction of the various stringed instruments as they encounter and dialogue with each other. The drums are almost a constant thrumming beat. Incessant, varying little in dynamic and not at all in tempo throughout part one's nearly 22 minutes. Mitchell interacts with the strings as does Burrell, but the key improvisational and chromatic interplay is elsewhere. It's a breathtaking piece. Part two is moodier, introduced by Burrell and Mitchell with Silva's bowed droning cello offering the point of engagement. This section crawls and creeps to a softly whispered conclusion. "My March" is almost a mirror image of the title track. Rhythm doesn't even enter into the piece until nearly halfway through its 22 minutes. The slow tonal unraveling of the first half gives way to a an easy march, adorned by nearly breezy flutes, popping basslines, and spacious piano interludes. This is a fine offering showcasing where elements of formal 20th century composition meet the new jazz head-on and become something else altogether.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek