Looking East: A Suite in Three Parts
In structure and sound, Looking East points right back to recordings like Don Cherry's Complete Communion. Trumpeter Raphe Malik, best known for his sideman years with Cecil Taylor, links up with reedman Sabir Mateen, and for just under two hours, the two blow with old-school gusto on a three-part suite of folkish themes at a recorded concert performance organized by the Boston Creative Music Alliance in 1999. Beneath them, the rhythm section of drummer Codaryl "Cody" Moffett and bassist Larry Roland keep things driving and jiggley.
Malik leaves the greatest print on the music. His brash, wide-stroke trumpet sound is highlighter-tip thick compared to most ball-point trumpet blurts, and his contributions range from fluttering strings of high notes to swaggering low notes, or fragments of boppish lines delivered with confidence and kick.
The excitable element, Moffett, tends to get carried away. Not the most space-conscious guy, the drummer leans toward a certain line of thinking that goes: If a cluster of kick-drum bombs sound good, then a bunch more will sound even better. But he plays with such enthusiasm-mixing funk backbeats, free accents and swing cymbal rides with irrepressible insouciance-that it's tough not to get bowled over and come up smiling. Dead spots crop up here and there, but the sheer energy these four guys put into this concert more than makes up for it.