October 19, 2000
Humility In The Light Of Creator
Valuable as a snapshot of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians' early days and as an addition to McIntyre's slim discography, this CD shows just how much unrecognized talent lived in 1960s Chicago.
Never one of the AACM's heavy-hitters, the reedman seemed to follow a musical philosophy that was half mystic and half energy music. Certainly there are times, such as on the first version of the title tune, where the whole crew seems ready to segue into "A Love Supreme". But since these are players still close to their blues roots, many of the other compositions — especially on parts of the Ensemble Fate suite — lean as much towards Muddy (Waters) as (Roscoe) Mitchell. Indeed the trio of Myers/McIntyre/Ajaramu often mixed pop/bop and free music when worked clubs around the city at that time.
Although the entire session is only a little more than 37 minutes long, two groupings are featured. The Ensemble Love suite is backed by only the massed might of the double rhythm section and some "little instruments". It showcases McIntyre's lowdown tenor tone and chameleon-like clarinet stylings, plus the throaty wordless vocalizing of Hines who manages to sound both like Leon Thomas and a cantor on the High Holidays.
Conversely, the Ensemble Fate suite offers tantalizing early glimpses of the other hornmen and the pianist. Musical responsibility passes back and forth from the steady basses — playing both pizz and arco — to Myers' dark piano clusters, Stubblefield's hell-bent-for-leather explosions and Smith's muted, sonorous lines. Throughout, the leader is as much a cheerleader as a soloist, urging the group on with percussion inserts and shouted exhortations.
More than 30 years later, many of the participants — especially Smith — are involved in much different kinds of music. Only Myers and Favors are still prominent in the AACM, along with Hines, now called G'ra, who sometimes works with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart.
McIntyre, who added Kalaparusha to his name shortly after this disc was made, revisited to the studios in 1998 after a 20 year hiatus with RETURN OF THE LOST TRIBE (Delmark DD-507). He's recorded again since then, but still seems to regularly appear and disappear from sight. Thus HUMILITY is an important part of his lasting legacy.
— Ken Waxman
Track Listing: Suite: Ensemble Love 1. Hexagon 2. Kcab Emoh^ 3. Pluto Calling^ 4. Life Force^ 5. Humility In The Light Of Creator 6. Suite: Ensemble Fate* 7. Humility In The Light Of Creator (alternate)
Personnel: Leon Smith* (trumpet, flugelhorn); Maurice McIntyre (tenor saxophone, clarinet, bells, tambourine, bike horn); John Stubblefield* (soprano saxophone); Claudine Myers *(piano); Malcahi Favors and Mchaka Uba (basses); Thurman Barker and Ajaramu (drums); George Hines^ (vocals)