The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Art Ensemble: 1967/68

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This limited-edition five-CD set available directly from Nessa not only reissues the important free jazz albums Old/Quartet, Numbers 1 & 2, and Congliptious but contains quite a bit of music taken from rehearsals by the members of the group that would by 1969 become known as the Art Ensemble of Chicago. With such advanced improvisers as trumpeter Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman on reeds, bassist Malachi Favors, drummer Phillip Wilson, and appearances from bassist Charles Clark, drummers Robert Crowder and Thurman Barker, the music is usually very emotional and sometimes quite scary. There are meandering sections and individual performances that do not work all that well, but in general the music is quite colorful, adventurous, and innovative: in many ways the beginning of the modern avant-garde. Open-eared listeners are advised to search for this important historical set.

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