Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Meet the Podium Three: Live in Koln

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So often, jazz-fusion albums from decades past somehow lose their appeal over time. This one, recorded in the early '90s, appears timeless. Billed as "Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Cornell Rochester Meet the Podium 3," the album is taken from a live performance in Germany, where free-form American jazz funkers Tacuma and Rochester joined a Dutch avant-garde chamber jazz group (guitarist Jan Kuiper, alto saxophonist Paul Van Kemenade, and trombonist Walter Wierbos) for an exuberantly stunning set, where everything clicked. That jazz was in the air that night can be inferred from the song titles: "Blues for Dolphy," "Mr. Monk," "Mo's Mood," and "High Life." But this extraordinary set of lengthy tunes (all between 14 and 19 minutes) features hard-driving, rock-infused rhythm that keeps the Dutch players on their toes. Van Kemenade blows a sophisticated blues-drenched horn that adapts beautifully, while lip-splitter Wierbos takes his slide where few venture to go, with sputtering free excursions. Kuiper knows his electronics and plays them for all they're worth. There isn't an empty moment in sight, even when the pace slows.

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