Reviews that mention Muhammad Ali

February 11, 2018

Bobby Zankel & the Wonderful Sound 6

Celebrating William Parker@65
NotTwo MW 9562-2

Avoiding the trappings of a nostalgia while celebrating the Golden Age status of one band member, a sextet of New Yorkers and Philadelphians prove that there’s prove that there’s still plenty of energy in Energy Music. Played by committed musicians, The New Thing still sounds new.

A four-part suite honoring the 65th birthday of bassist William Parker, who has seemingly played with every musician interested in exploratory sounds, Celebrating is doubly relevant by confirming that creative musicians don’t disappear just because they live outside of New York or Chicago. Philadelphia-based alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel, who has worked with everyone from Cecil Taylor to the Dells, is the chief instigator here. Violinist Diane Monroe a former members of Uptown String Quartet and the String Trio of New York is another Philly resident. Pianist Dave Burrell, whose skills were utilized by Archie Shepp and David Murray, and drummer Muhammad Ali, known for the 1970s’ Paris-based Center of the World quartet, also live in Pennsylvania’s largest city. New York trombonist Steve Swell fills out the band MORE

September 11, 2015

Rahied Al Akbar/ Muhammad Ali/Earl Cross/Idris Ackamoor

Ascent of the Nether Creatures NoBusiness NB LP78

By Ken Waxman

Startlingly high-class free jazz from an unheralded quartet of journeymen Americans, Ascent of the Nether Creatures from 1980 confirms that a vociferous audience existed for more experimental sounds despite the supposed dominance of fusion and mainstream jazz.

Certainly no one in this sometimes raggedly recorded club date from somewhere in the Netherlands, was drawn by star power. Best-known member of the group was drummer Muhammad Ali – Rashied’s brother –whose Center of the World band with Frank Wright, Alan Silva and, Bobby Few worked extensively during the ‘70s. Trumpeter Earl Cross recorded with Charles Tyler, Noah Howard and Rashied Ali; saxophonist Idris Ackamoor’s jazz-world music/jazz ensemble The Pyramids has toured slightly-under-the-radar for many years, while virtually nothing is known about bassist Rashied Al Akbar. MORE

August 6, 2012

In Print

Music in My Soul
Noah Howard (Buddy’s Knife)

By Ken Waxman

Metaphorically, alto saxophonist Noah Howard’s musical life mirrored the history of jazz. Born April 6, 1943 in New Orleans, the music’s purported cradle, before his death on Sept. 3, 2010 in Belgium, Howard had travelled to San Francisco and New York, recorded for small labels like ESP-Disk, expatriated overseas, toured Europe, Africa and India, while developing ties with emerging local players. Completed just days before his death from a cerebral hemorrhage, Music in My Soul is written in the artless but competent prose of a constantly working musician with some haziness in chronology, spelling and details. MORE

June 30, 2003


Attica Blues
Impulse! AS-9222 024 654 414-2

Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe
Impulse! AS-9191 440 065 383-2

What you’re hearing on these two LP-length CD reissues, recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is the metaphoric death throes of the New Thing as a popular music.

But wait, you say, didn’t the angry unmelodic, experimental New Thing itself murder jazz’s popularity when it hijacked the music and drove large audiences away? Not really. Like other pieces of revisionist history perpetuated by the neo-cons this tale has been blown out of proportion to make more miraculous the trad revival of the 1990s. MORE