Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble

Seasoning the Greens

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AllMusic Review by Fran├žois Couture

Bill Cole's music is a treasure for all the world to hear, beautiful art inspired by and borrowed from all cultures and delivered back with love. Seasoning the Greens (both the piece and the album) may be the reedman's most heartwarming and downright irresistible work yet. The hourlong suite has a free-form prologue, followed by Warren Smith's "The Triple Towers of Kyongbokkang," best described as a world-jazz tune. Four sections based on different rhythms follow: two from South India, one from Ghana, and another from Colombia. After a free-form interlude (featuring William Parker's bass solo), proceeds conclude with an American rhythm: a blues. If this breakdown sounds like a collage of disparate influences, it is not. Cole's global conception of music provides the unifying factor. Switching from the didgeridoo to the sona, hojok, shenai, and nagaswarm, he gives each section a different color while his group keeps track of the feel of the piece. Cooper-Moore's very personal handmades add a touch of traditionalism, of the earthly connection between musician and instrument that is at the core of any folk music. Sam Furnace's sax, Parker's bass, and Smith's drums inscribe the piece in a jazz frame. Percussionist Atticus Cole, one of the unsung heroes of creative global jazz (if only people could stop focusing on Cyro Baptista for a minute or two), follows Cole's shape-shifting admirably. Surprisingly, it is the closing blues that sounds the most exotic: How often do you hear a sona (a Chinese double-reed instrument) soloing in that context? A great-sounding live recording from a March 2001 concert in Burlington, VT, Seasoning the Greens is a must-have.

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