Marriage of Heaven and Earth

Fully Celebrated Orchestra

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Marriage of Heaven and Earth Review

by Fran├žois Couture

The first large-scale (well, at least medium-scale) release from this long-standing free jazz outfit, Marriage of Heaven and Earth displays the Fully Celebrated Orchestra exactly as they are: exciting and misunderstood. The recording was done live in a club. People talk and glasses move around while the quartet gives everything they have. There are flaws, but in general the energy of the performance covers up its shortcomings. Even though the group is led by alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs (he writes all the material), Taylor Ho Bynum, a young cornet player, steals the spotlight. At ease both in the bop and out-there vocabularies, he spits out lines that continually twist conventions (one is reminded of the young Toshinori Kondo). The pieces generally fall in the free jazz category, the energetic post-bop heads opening up on freer accompanied solos. The influence of Ornette Coleman is obvious (Hobbs approaches melodies with the master's harmolodics technique). There are two exceptions though, "Ol' Sow Rooted 'Em Up" and "Aware of Vacuity" (this one with a percussion solo from Django Corranza), both much more danceable, swinging numbers. "The Kelpi" and "Reconciliation of Heaven and Earth" are the undisputable highlights, the latter displaying the kind of energy usually coming out of Seth Misterka's projects. By the time of that closer, the audience has shut up -- who wouldn't?

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