Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Live At The Paradox Review By Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

Live At The Paradox, 2008 (In And Out 77098; Germany)
Recorded at the ZXZW Festival, Tilburg, The Netherlands, on Sept. 20th. 2008

M Allen alto sax, flute, clarinet, EVI; Charles Davis, YahYa Abdul Majid tenor saxes; Knoel Scott alto sax; Danny Thompson, Reynold Scott baritone saxes; Cecil Brooks, Fred Adams trumpets; Dave Davis trombone and tuba; Farid Barron piano and organ; Juni Booth doublebass; Dave Hotep guitar; Wayne Smith Jr drums; Elson Nascimento surdo and percussions.

“I had the good fortune to hear and see the Sun Ra Arkestra last night (6/10/09) at the 14th Annual Vision Fest and they were pretty amazing! This disc was recorded in September of 2008 and it captures the relatively same Arkestra in all of its glory. Commencing with Marshall’s “Space Walk” which features layers of EVI (electronic valve instrument), guitar, piano, occasional horns, bass and percussion, we are slowly heading out to outer space. What I dig about this is the way the Arkestra plays freely yet there is a lovely floating vibe that connects everyone into a cosmic dreamscape. “Discipline 27” has that incredible, magical riff that still stays with me and keeps me humming some thirty years after I first heard it at Soundscape in 1979. The version here is genuinely uplifting, and it segues into another favorite of mine “I’ll Wait for You” from the album ‘Strange Celestial Place’. The Arkestra plays these tunes with a jubilant, swinging spirit that is infectious and most of the horn players get a chance to solo throughout, often playing short, concise and powerful solos. Whether playing Sun Ra’s “Dreams Come True” or Fletcher Henderson’s “Hocus Pocus”, the band illustrates the long history of jazz (big bands!) that makes one feel so good. This recording was from a club in the Netherlands so we can hear folks talking quietly between the songs, which actually adds to homey ambiance. Marshall Allen wrote four of the nine songs here in the Sun Ra vein and plays some extraordinary solos as well. The Arkestra is particularly tight and festive moreso than the last time I caught them (quite a while ago). Considering the large amount of Sun Ra reissues and rarities that have been released over the past few years, it is great to hear some new Sun Ra Arkestra music that is as great as anything we’ve heard from the past! Space is the place indeed!”

- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

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