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Revolutionary Ensemble Returns to Disc

New records from two long-recognized groups of the jazz avant garde-the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Revolutionary Ensemble-will be out Sept. 7 and Oct. 19, respectively. Pi Recordings, which put out the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s The Meeting in 2003, will release both CDs. The Revolutionary Ensemble disc, titled And Now…, is the group’s first since an eponymous album in 1977.

Though the Art Ensemble of Chicago lost founding member Malachi Favors Maghostut (pictured) when he passed away in January, the new album, Sirius Calling, still features the late bassist as the recordings were made in April of last year. The album’s 14 tracks find the group-reedists Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman, drummer Don Moye, Maghostut-in duos, trios and as a full quartet. Most of the tracks run between three and four minutes. Here’s a track list:

Art Ensemble of Chicago – Sirius Calling

Sirius Calling

Come on Y’all

Two-Twenty

He Took a Cab to Neptune

Everyday’s a Perfect Day

Until Autumn

Dance of Circles

Cruising With JJ

You Can’t Get Away

Talko

There’s a Message for You

Slow Tenor and Bass

Voyage

The Council

An avant-garde jazz band based around stringed instruments, the Revolutionary Ensemble-comprised of Leroy Jenkins on violin, Sirone on bass and Jerome Cooper on drums-was considered unusual even on the highly experimental 1970s New York City loft scene. The group cut a handful of influential records in the ’70s but not much has been heard from them since. This year has seen the re-release of The Psyche, an obscure album that had originally come out in 1975 on the Ensemble’s own RE: Records; and the trio played a standing-room-only performance at the Vision Festival in New York City in May. And Now… is the band’s first new album in 27 years.

As was the case with past Ensemble releases, the new album contains compositions from all three musicians. At the center of the album is “911-544,” a suite by Cooper that serves as a reflection on the tragedies of 9/11 and uses a number of instruments, including balaphon, keyboard and chiramia, a Mexican reed instrument. The track list:

Revolutionary Ensemble – And Now

Berlin Erfahrung

Rumi Tales

911-544

Light

Ism Schsim

more information on Pi Recordings, visit www.pirecordings.com.

Originally Published