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Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber: Making Love to the Dark Ages

With a name like Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, Greg Tate’s latest project conjures up everything from funk, jazz and rock to the avant-garde world of Sun Ra and the hard-hitting hip-hop of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Yet when the band delves into the three-part album opener, “Chains and Water,” they first hit you with a blend of Delta blues and modern soul, propelled by the saucy vocals of Lisala. (How many different ways does she manage to intone and enunciate the phrase “I go back, I go back, I go back, I go back, I go back, I go back to chains and water”?)

Tate works with a huge array of musicians on Making Love to the Dark Ages, and he knows how to use them. Trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes Jr. turns in a solo on “Chains and Water” that grows more and more discordant before the tune takes on a hip-hop bent that becomes an all-out jam in the long middle section-which, in turn, leads into a brief final section of Ellington-inspired swing. (Whew.)

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