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The Revolution Continues

The Revolutionary Ensemble (violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Sirone and drummer/keyboardist Jerome Cooper) was one of the leading “out” groups of the 1970s, and its reappearance has proved to be a highlight of 2004. In late May the trio took the stage for the first time in some 27 years at the Vision Festival, in front of a crowd that truly appreciated the event’s significance. On the night before Halloween, at the more upscale Joe’s Pub, an equally enthusiastic house rose to its feet after Jenkins and company played music from their new album And Now… (Pi).

This band can move from the densest free improv to a uniquely craggy variety of chamber jazz in the course of a single composition. Their sound is strings-based, obviously, with Sirone making extensive use of the bow, either to enunciate a soaring melody or produce a sonic barrage by sawing rapidly back and forth. (If Sirone had to rehair his bow after every gig, it wouldn’t be surprising.) Jenkins was just as physically animated, his amplified tone often hoarse and severe–although one of three short encores had him playing unaccompanied, revealing a world of timbral variety, not to mention technical mastery.

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