In another all-star release for AUM Fidelity during 2001, drummer Whit Dickey pulls together Rob Brown, Mat Maneri, and Matthew Shipp to play six of his wide open free jazz compositions under the Nommonsemble moniker. As far as modern free jazz goes, Life Cycle finds itself at the top of its genre. With plunkety attacks and introspective swells played by the best contemporary jazz musicians, its hard to really screw this one up -- and they certainly do not. The thing is, everyone knows these guys can kick it out. They can improvise, and improvise, until the listener begs for reprieve. With that understood, the task at hand for the modern jazz composer is to create a thematic and timely set of movements that communicates something other than cerebrally engaging jazz improv. Thematically speaking, the six compositions within Life Cycle speak of one-word rites of passage. "Wonder," "War," "Games," "Love," "Acceptance," and "Transformation" take on an evolution of existence while pushing musical form. Listeners are left to watch themselves and their children participate in the worldwide landscape while Life Cycle provides the spaces and chaos that dictate the cyclical nature of both human nature and improvisational music. To that end, the Nommonsemble pull together a concise and pleasing recording that for the most part proves itself to be relevant and thought-provoking. Add this one to the burgeoning AUM Fidelity canon of exceptional contemporary music.
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AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson