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January/February 1997

Byard Lancaster
My Pure Joy
Black Fire

Among newer little-labels-that-could, DC's Jimmy Gray is crafting the beginnings of a nice recorded legacy with his Black Fire label. Joining such treats as a live Hamiet Bluiett date is this latest edition from Philly multi-reedman Byard Lancaster. Given a distinctive African air, My Pure Joy is delivered in highly spirited fashion by a cast that includes the leader on flute, piccolo, alto sax, piano, and soprano sax. He is joined by keyboards, guitar (which at one point lends an eerie '60s feel- kind of neo-Sonny Sharrock-to the proceedings), no fewer than six percussionists, plus the Tunde Kyoboye Drummers from Ibadan. They give voice to a program of 11 largely original compositions. Hey Jimmy, how about a little more clarity on the graphics next time. - Willard Jenkin

Originally published in January/February 1997
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