Friday, June 23, 2006

Beautiful title, yes? A nice capsule description of one of the core AACM principles, also embodied in their slogan, "Great Black Music--Ancient to the Future". The recording, from 1975, is an odd smorgasbord, giving Abrams a chance to display seveal facets of his persona. This is good and bad. Abrams (who, by the way, I saw in the audience at the Viz Fest last week, looking pretty well at 75) has an insistent tendency toward an academicism offsetting his more blues-based material. I've never thought he quite manages to pull this off, generally speaking, the results overly dry and anemic. This might be the first recording of his in which these directions surface in compositions like "How Are You?" where singer Ella Jackson ululates bizarrely enough to cause one to wonder how, if at all, intentional it is. Pretty scary, one way or the other. "1 and 4 Plus 2 and 7" is tedious in another direction; you get the feeling Abrams thinks he has to imitate serialist composers to be taken seriously, a sad commentary if true.

However, the remainder of the disc is quite enjoyable, sometimes great. Muhal's romantic side appears on several of Side One's tracks, including a lovely trio with vibes, "Ballad for Old Souls". The real killer, though, is the final piece, "March of the Transients", which might be the single finest boppish work ever realized by an AACM musician. A wonderful, surging, strutting theme followed by one striking solo after another, all powered by some incredible drumming from the undersung Wilbur Campbell. Absolutely worth the price of the disc.


Finished the Gibson, a pretty good read, shedding some interesting light on advertising practices, whether current or near-future. If handled properly, could mae a neat little thriller movie.

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