Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble

Duets & Solos, Vol. 1

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It was a wise move on the part of the Boxholder label to release a series of duets performed by Bill Cole and the members of his Untempered Ensemble during a March Vermont Jazz Center concert, and to combine these tracks with studio recordings of Cole solo. It's a sad truth that music of such an intimate nature often gets swept aside on the release roster in favor of bigger projects. And specifically, as pleasing as Cole's efforts have been with the full group, it is here in these conversations between old friends and playing partners that the workings of his approach really hum. The first volume features the leader on flute, didgeridoo, shenai, Tibetan trumpet, sona, and piri, and it sounds even better than it would taste if that was an order from an Indian restaurant rather than a list of instruments. Best yet, Cole plays these instruments like a jazz musician playing a saxophone. He really gets around on each one with a thick, rich tone to boot. Then there are the duet partners, who also are hardly slouching around. The wonderful Cooper-Moore bounces in on his diddley bow, while Warren Smith bangs a gong around a stomachache of a Tibetan trumpet solo, then switches to trap drums for the energetic "The Moment One Sets Out." Bassist William Parker is an important part of many new millennium jazz dates and creates a beautiful performance with Cole. This is an intimate, varied, and haunting collection.

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