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Showing posts from May, 2013

Wadada Leo Smith: Ten Freedom Summers and Me, 2013

A poem by Langston Hughes

As I Grew Older
It was a long time ago.  I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then,  In front of me, Bright like a sun- My dream.  And then the wall rose, Rose slowly,  Slowly, Between me and my dream.  Rose until it touched the sky- The wall. Shadow. I am black. I lie down in the shadow. No longer the light of my dream before me, Above me. Only the thick wall. Only the shadow.  My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! Help me to shatter this darkness, To smash this night, To break this shadow Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams Of sun!


The followingis a verbal collage of how I have absorbed Ten Freedom Summers by Wadada Leo Smith. Reviewing this composition, having heard both the Roulette performance in May 2013 in New York and the Los Angeles premiere in October of 2011 and a sampling of the entire six hour piece in between is a moot point at this point for me. So much has already been written since it was premiered. I do …

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals: Aquarius: Delmark, 2013

The sheer silvery glistening sensuality of the cover of Aquarius leads one to lock into the intimate process of flutist Nicole Mitchell's translation of sound from her ear to the air. She has chosen the right musicians to join her because none of them are bravurists. They all seek to blend with the sprightliness, delicacy and distinctive colors of Mitchell's rich melody lines. There is nothing boppish here; each track is an evolution of natural events, where one musician folds into and out of the larger picture with style and grace. The intended atmosphere of this music would be unattainable without the vibrant responsiveness of the members of this group.

Mitchell is one of the most sincere, genuine and disciplined musicians around. Her music exudes her heart. She believes in a formal approach to rhythm. She breathes beautifully and concisely through improvisational offshoots to the main musical subject. Her playing is not concerned with stressing her instrument to reach extre…