Quartet Belghoul


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It's very difficult to know exactly what to make of this. Quartet Belghoul has taken harmolodics, the music theory developed by Ornette Coleman and James Blood Ulmer, and used it as a way of furthering their own investigation by writing eight compositions in that way -- one with the title "James Dit Blood Ulmer" (maybe because the band is led by guitarist Hammed Belghoul). On the one hand, both Coleman and listeners should be gratified in that the man's music is being created outside his own circle and moving into jazz culture through different channels. On the other, so much of the music here sounds like questionably conceived rewrites of original material by Coleman, Blood, and even Ronald Shannon Jackson, that it's difficult to tell where Quartet Belghoul actually begins. Perhaps the difficulty lies in the fact that Hammed Belghoul sounds so much like Ulmer it's impossible to separate the two -- though he's not quite as funky. In places saxophonist Rachid Belghoul does move away from the Coleman-styled ostinatos and goes to the edge and falls off, such as on "Harmolodie A," "Florville," and "Menteuse." But the rest of the band is locked into emulation. Too bad, as this was a good idea. If only Quartet Belghoul had added something of their own into the mix.

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