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Art Ensemble to Release Two CDs in August

A new Art Ensemble of Chicago CD on the Pi label showed up a few days ago featuring the lineup of Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Don Moye and Joseph Jarman, the saxophonist who left the group in 1993 but who has returned in the wake of trumpeter and Art Ensemble co-founder Lester Bowie’s death in 1999. The album, titled The Meeting, is the band’s first studio recording since Bowie’s death. Or is it? The accompanying press release speaks of a disc the group recorded as a trio sometime after Bowie died. We don’t blame Pi for not mentioning this in its release, but that unreleased CD will be released by ECM a week after The Meeting hits store shelves. So, with Art Ensemble fans presumably licking their chops at this news, we present the details.

The Meeting, to be released August 19, was recorded in Wisconsin during sessions that took place on eight, non-consecutive days between February and April of this year. All seven tracks feature the Mitchell-Jarman-Maghostut-Moye lineup and includes an 18-minute track (“It’s the Sign of the Times”) of the band dinking around on pieces of Roscoe Mitchell’s collection of percussion instruments. A track list:

Hail We Now Sing Joy

It’s the Sign of the Times

Tech Ritter and the Megabytes

Wind and Drum

The Meeting

Amin Bidness

The Train to Io

On August 26 ECM drops its new Art Ensemble disc, A Tribute to Lester Bowie, which we’re assuming is the album alluded to in the Pi press release. This one’s a lovely six-track long player that Mitchell, Mogostut and Moye recorded in late September, 2001. It’s heavy on the perc as well, but the longest track is just 14 minutes long. The tracks:

Sangredi

Suite for Lester

Zero/Alternate Line

Tutankamen

As Clear as the Sun

He Speaks to Me Often in Dreams

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