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Lester Bowie: Numbers 1 & 2 (Nessa)

Thomas Conrad's review of album featuring the original lineup of the Art Ensemble of Chicago

Cover of Lester Bowie album Numbers 1 & 2 on Nessa
Lester Bowie album Numbers 1 & 2 on Nessa

This album was recorded in two sessions in August of 1967. The band is Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn), Roscoe Mitchell (reeds), Malachi Favors (bass) and, on the second session, Joseph Jarman (reeds). It was the first release on Nessa.

Soon this quartet would name itself the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The AEC’s signature procedures were already in place for these sessions: the episodic collective improvisation; the calculated impulsiveness; the theatricality; the zany humor; the cacophonies of whistles and gongs and kazoos.

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