Bright Moments: Return of the Lost Tribe

From Sun Ra to the AACM and its Art Ensemble offshoot to Eight Bold Souls, Chicago has represented overtime in the avant garde jazz arena.

While its improvisational new truths are still germane, the Chicago school’s greatest strengths were the musicians’ embracement of the African traditional concept of band as family and their absolute mastery of African diaspora, American, and European musical forms.

Drummer/composer Kahil El’Zabar has gathered four of his old AACM spars-Joseph Jarman, alto sax/flute; Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, tenor sax; Adegoke Steve Colson, piano; Malachi Favors, bass-for a last go-round: Return of the Lost Tribe. AKA Bright Moments, these jazz griots have come up with some of the best music of their lives. ROTLT’s seven tracks are overflowing with evocative moments (El’Zabar’s shamanistic mojo scat on “Ornette”) and improvisational epiphanies (McIntyre’s sly, midway-through-“Dance ’em” quote of Rashaan’s “Volunteer Slavery.”) This is no last hurrah; this is a new day.