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Anthony Braxton, Ornette, Muhal Richard Abrams and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, all are one. One and the same family. The latter is one of the most important musical phenomena to have arisen from among all those artists who blossomed under the auspices of the Chicago AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). Although their first album came out in 1969 after the band had re-grouped around the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble in 1968, 51 years have passed since its creation.
Since then, its existence has been marked by a veritable torrent of events. Undoubtedly the most important was the passing of two of its original members: Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors. Nevertheless, this incorrigible crew has remained faithful to their commitment to explore the great black music by adding sound splashes culled from every nook and cranny of what is an enormous wealth of inspirations that shape a complex net of orchestral rebounds, echoes, calls and perspectives, which subvert the traditional concept of a work-composition.
The result is an encyclopaedic musical preparation, resolved with the sole purpose of carrying the listener forward towards theatricality. In these performances, the music bursts forth in a dense and unexpected way, with a fierce kaleidoscopic personality. It always abounds in style and aesthetics. There are ideas and, of course, achievements. This will probably be the last tour of the Art Ensemble.
© Roger Thomas
Saxophones, flute: Roscoe Mitchell.
Drums, congas, percussion: Famoudou Don Moye.
Trumpets: Hugh Ragin.
Cello: Tomeka Reid.
Bass: Jaribu Shahid.
African percussion: Dudu Kouyate’.