March 1998

Khan Jamal
Percussion & Strings
CIMP Recordings

True to the experimental nature of this label, leader Khan Jamal-a veteran of more adventurous groups like Cosmic Forces and bands led by Sunny Murray, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Joe Bonner and Billy Bang- stretches the form playing vibraphone or marimba on ten tunes (eight originals) of this 1997 studio date, his first recording in eight years. In various formations, his Philadelphia-based group with Ed Crockett (bass), Dylan Taylor (cello) and Craig McIver or Pete Vinson (drums), creates a stirring, un-derivative session. Tunes range from meditative tone poems, to hip beat-bubbling swingers, to unhurried walking-bass blues, to odd-metered contrapuntal numbers and more, all adding up to an uncommon session for a vibes player and a real treat for the inquisitive listener. On "Blue Monk," Jamal proves he can play inside and straightahead, but why should he when he so masterfully pushes the envelope with this percussion-string band?

Originally published in March 1998

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