Reviews that mention Ameen Muhammad

November 3, 2003

DENNIS GONZÁLEZ NEW SOUTHERN QUINTET

Old Time Revival
Entropy Stereo Records ESR 014

JEFF CHAN
In Chicago
Asian Improv Records AIR 0063

Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) exemplar, and its southern roots, underlines the creativity of the combos on both these discs.

Although only three of the nine players involved are AACM members -- the late trumpeter Ameen Muhammad, bassist Malachi Favors and drummer Alvin Fielder -- the cooperative archetype that the Chicago association feels must be mixed with creative improvised music is on show each time. MORE

June 30, 2003

ICP ORCHESTRA

Oh, My Dog
ICP 040

MYUMI PROJECT BIG BAND
Rooted: Origins of Now
Southport/Asian Improv S-SSD 0092

Performing with a mid-sized band of improvisers is widespread because it provides freedom both for the composer(s) and the players. Nine plus instruments often provide enough variations to illustrate a writer’s vision; and with fewer than 12 bandmates, musicians can contribute much more than if they’re mere section placeholders.

Small big bands can also be used to express radically different concepts as these skilled CDs demonstrate. Together for almost 30 years, the Dutch ICP Orchestra has featured many different soloists over time, but with laissez faire direction coming from pianist/composer Misha Mengelberg, there’s a consistency there. Tatsu Aoki’s Myumi Project, on the other hand, is mostly a recording ensemble, put together to give flesh to the bassist/composer’s musical portraits of Asian American improvisers in particular and Asians in North America in general. MORE

June 3, 2003

ERNEST DAWKINS’ NEW HORIZONS ENSEMBLE

Cape Town Shuffle
Delmark DG-545

Rollicking as only a live date by saxophonist Ernest Dawkins’ ensemble could be, the happy grooves established by the five Chicago musicians here are tempered by an incident that happened six months later. Trumpeter Ameen Muhammad, Dawkins’ closest confrere, who had been part of the New Horizons Ensemble from its beginnings, died at 48 in February, of apparent heart failure.

Luckily there are plenty of examples of Muhammad’s literally larger-than-life character on the four long tracks that make up CAPE TOWN SHUFFLE. What the audience at Hothouse saw in August 2002, and we hear on the disc is a portrait of a broad-chested brassman who had the power to twist his trumpet lines every which way to do his bidding, whether he was playing the blues or exploring the stratosphere. MORE