The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Live at Iridium

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This pair of 2004 concert recordings, Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Live at Iridium, could be said to be by the "New" Art Ensemble of Chicago. With the death of Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors, the future of the group was in serious doubt, even with the return of Joseph Jarman. Trumpeter Corey Wilkes and bassist Jaribu Shahid, however, have proven to be excellent successors, inspiring Roscoe Mitchell and Jarman to play at their best. Some of the music on this two-CD set is almost hard bop although a bit eccentric; other selections meander a bit in sound explorations or percussion displays, and others find the group pushing ahead. The Art Ensemble of Chicago was always at their most intriguing live, so a concert recording is the next best thing. Not everything works, but the group never loses your interest, being coherent, constantly creative, and quite unpredictable.

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