The decidedly bluesy Cymbals was one of the best bets of the entire lot. Like Pathways, this program employed a greatly reduced Arkestra. Though stalwarts like John Gilmore are assigned limited roles, the tenorist’s journey to and beyond Planet Jug on the midtempo blues “Thoughts Under a Dark Blue Light” is enough to make Cymbals legendary. But it is Ra’s keyboards that dominate the program, particularly on the smoothly walking “The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters,” where he nimbly capers between organ, Rocksichord and “electronic vibes.”
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.