April 12, 2007
Sequel (For Lester Bowie)
Intakt CD 111
Honoring the late Art Ensemble trumpeter Lester Bowie with a sequel to Bowies famous 1969 concert with European improvisers, George Lewis redefines the shape and personnel of the project to reflect globalized 21st Century music. Melding acoustic and electronic impulses, Lewis creates a directed composition for cybernetic improvisers that defiantly and memorably stakes out contemporary creative musics multi-faceted identity.
Along with his trombone and laptop computer, the ensemble consists of Americans, percussionist Guillermo E. Brown, guitarist Jeff Parker and Miya Masaoka on koto, laptop and electronics. British electronics manipulator Kaffe Matthews, Germans turntablist DJ Mutamassik, Ulrich Müller on guitar and laptop and Siegfried Rössert playing acoustic bass and laptop are the Europeans.
Defined by zigzagging textures that encompass pulsating drones, appended sound samples and hissing oscillations Sequel plus three shorter postludes one dedicated to Sun Ra substantiate jazzs tradition of welcoming novel sounds to the musics bedrock. Arrhythmic at points to establish space among electronic wave forms, Brown also ruffs concentrated backbeats, that when coupled with flanged guitar licks and bass pulses provide beat-laden funk tinges. Lewis blustery plunger timbres or accelerated triplets extended, transformed and reformatted with electronics, suggest Dixieland, Bop and R&B shoved into a blender, with the shards spit out to fit particular interplay. Meanwhile Masaoka expanded harp-like glissandi share space with distorted, crunching prepared guitar frails.
Although enthusiastic amplified crowd sounds sometimes heard are merely DJ samples its probable that this Euro-American confab will prove as significant and enduring as Bowies initial foray.
CODA Issue 332