Trans Museq

Folk Music

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This release is one of the first group out of the gate from the Alabama free improvisation scene centered around then husband and wife Davey Williams and La Donna Smith. At this stage, their group, Trans Museq, featured a third member, the bassist Theodore Bowen, who also doubled on tenor sax. On neither instrument is he a catalyst for either energy nor musical development; rather, he seems to have slightly clouded the communication and adeptness with which Williams and Smith would begin to move when they later sliced the group down to duo size. Of course, it is easy in retrospect to pick on Bowen and try to blame him rather than the others for any moments that lag on this record, half of which is recorded live and the other selected from a year's worth of studio work. This was also only the second record these musicians had produced and it suffers from signs of collective indecision and early stages of professional timidity in the editing selections. Nonetheless, the title of this album was an important statement for the newly developing American avant-garde, as it promised, indeed threatened, a linkage between the music all Americans had grown up with and the strange-sounding mélange the improvisers were playing. The extent to which this idea annoys and frightens narrow-minded listeners is an enjoyable by-product of the work of these groundbreaking American musicians.

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