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April 2009

Bill Cole
Proverbs for Sam
Boxholder Records

Bill Cole, Coltrane scholar and player of several exotic double-reed instruments, salutes his late friend and collaborator alto saxophonist Sam Furnace on this collection of extended live performances. The disc features four 2001 cuts on which both men share the frontline with lower brass player Joseph Daley. Bassist William Parker holds things together, leaving room for percussionists Warren Smith and Atticus Cole to roam free or bring marimba to the sound. Cooper-Moore adds to the mix with his homemade diddley bow, rim drums and spirited wailing. The proverbs in the title refer to rather lengthy philosophies of the Yorubas of Nigeria that title each track.

Each piece lasts between 14 and 25 minutes and is built on a simple melody played over a polyrhythmic groove. Cole’s artillery—Chinese Soma, Indian Shenai, et al.—has tone quality and wobbly pitch similar to that of an oboe, but it makes a great blend with Furnace’s alto and Daley’s baritone horn, tuba or trombone. The only setback to these energetic performances is that all three horns typically solo at once, which makes the overall texture sound a little busy. With all the melodies and beats that appear, it would sound better if everyone took turns.

Originally published in April 2009
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