The Leaders


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The Leaders were formed in the mid-'80s as a vehicle for six notable players (trumpeter Lester Bowie, altoist Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman on tenor and bass clarinet, pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Don Moye) to play straight-ahead advanced jazz. Their debut album, cut for the defunct Black Hawk label, is difficult to find -- unfortunately so, for it is an excellent effort. Two songs are group compositions (including the ad-lib "Midnite Train"); Freeman provided a tribute to Eric Dolphy ("Freedom Swing Song"); and the other selections include originals by Blythe and McBee, plus Sam Cooke's "Cupid" (which has a Freeman vocal). Worth searching for.

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