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Wadada Leo Smith: Rosa Parks: Pure Love (TUM)

It is too soon to declare Wadada Leo Smith the Picasso of jazz. Picasso sustained his creative powers and his prolific productivity into his nineties. Smith is only 77. But his recent output, most importantly on the TUM label of Finland, has been ambitious, voluminous, and diverse, and has made him a revered elder statesman … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith: Rosa Parks: Pure Love (TUM)”

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Andrew Cyrille: Lebroba (ECM)

It is profoundly satisfying to hear drummer Andrew Cyrille—who helped shepherd the tornado of Cecil Taylor through Unit Structures, among many others, more than 50 years ago—now in regal equipoise with a pair of esteemed elder peers, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Bill Frisell. Lebroba relaxes you like a landscape painting, allowing your senses to … Read More “Andrew Cyrille: Lebroba (ECM)”

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Wadada Leo Smith: Two New Albums on TUM

Wadada Leo Smith: Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk (TUM) Najwa (TUM) Wadada Leo Smith’s solo trumpet tribute to Thelonious Monk evokes two points of reference. First is Monk’s 1957 solo-piano masterpiece, Thelonious Himself, the album that did more to demonstrate the elasticity of time than Einstein and Hawking combined. Like the pianist did on … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith: Two New Albums on TUM”

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Wadada Leo Smith: America’s National Parks

Trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith’s latest long-form suite, America’s National Parks, unites political engagement with a soul-deep connection to nature. Marshaling his newly expanded Golden Quintet (pianist Anthony Davis, cellist Ashley Walters, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Pheeroan akLaff), Smith’s 98-minute work, rich with ineffable majesty, fully engages with tensions at the heart of the American … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith: America’s National Parks”

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Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg: Celestial Weather

Wadada Leo Smith and John Lindberg have performed as a duo over the years, since connecting in the ’70s in Anthony Braxton’s Creative Orchestra, but it wasn’t until June of 2012 that they got around to recording an album as such. The result, though less extravagant than Smith’s Pulitzer-nominated, four-CD Ten Freedom Summers and subsequent … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg: Celestial Weather”

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Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith: a cosmic rhythm with each stroke

a cosmic rhythm with each stroke (ECM) This certainly isn’t the first time Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith have worked together-their partnership in Smith’s Golden Quartet goes back years-but it is their first duo recording, and an unusual one too. Its centerpiece is the seven-part title suite, which was inspired by the work of … Read More “Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith: a cosmic rhythm with each stroke”

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Wadada Leo Smith: The Great Lakes Suite

Composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has set an impossibly high bar for himself recently with a pair of politically trenchant, inventively knotty large ensemble projects, his magnum opus Ten Freedom Summers (2012) and Occupy the World (2013). The Great Lakes Suites suffers only by contrast. Spread over 90 minutes, the six suites (Smith has added Lake … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith: The Great Lakes Suite”

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Wadada Leo Smith: Red Hill

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s devotion to the avant-garde has remained steadfast over the decades, but his new effort, Red Hill, is even freer than much of what has preceded it. There are no rhythms, meters, melodies, chord progressions, basslines or structures of any other kind throughout these six long tracks. While such adherence to complete … Read More “Wadada Leo Smith: Red Hill”

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