Stanley Cowell

Musa Ancestral Streams

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Musa Ancestral Streams remains a relative oddity in the pantheon of jazz's black consciousness movement -- a solo piano set of stunning reach and scope, its adherence to intimacy contrasts sharply with the bold, multi-dimensional sensibilities that signify the vast majority of post-Coltrane excursions into spiritual expression, yet the sheer soulfulness and abandon of Stanley Cowell's performance nevertheless vaults the record into the same physical and metaphysical planes. Cowell's energy and touch are remarkable, as if guided by divine power, and for all the music's structural spaciousness and rhythmic freedom, not a note feels out of place, let alone excessive. Most intriguing is "Travelin' Man," an overdubbed "duet" featuring Cowell on both acoustic and electric piano that underscores his uncommon affinity for space and presence.

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