12 June 2004
NY Jazz Report's Joe Kruty (filling in for Thad Kawecki who is on a temporary hiatus) and Will Wolf stopped by the Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th Street, on Friday 28.May to catch The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians first concert of the season; it featured composer, multi-instrumentalist, and a founding father of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Roscoe Mitchell. His new 3-CD set on Mutable Music is entitled "Solo [ 3 ]."
Roscoe Mitchell Saxophones
Wolf: It is not always easy to listen to Roscoe Mitchell, especially when he's working solo. One must be fully prepared to enter another time zone, ready to embark on an energetic journey as this free jazz pioneer weaves his intense, impassioned tale, ranting and raving, masterfully exploring the emotional and technical mysteries of his various instruments. But those who travel with him, are always rewarded. And this night at the Community Church of New York he completely captured the audience, and took them on a remarkable voyage.
Kruty: Yes, it was a challenging expedition into uncharted terrain. This was no leisurely Sunday drive on a country road with its familiar dips and curves. Mitchell can take us to extremes: from the heatwaves of an ancient desert to the cold relentless rain of a dark distant planet.
Wolf: He is a brilliant improviser, impulsive yet intelligent, and in total command of his instrument, squeezing out every possible nuance of sound.
Kruty: His thoughts and ideas pour out of his horn as if they were part of him, somehow transcending the limits of technique.
Wolf: And Mitchell's stamina is astounding, both physically and mentally. He continued on for more than an hour, stopping only to change from alto to soprano. But his spirited expressions were always fresh, vibrant, and unpredictable.
Kruty: His notes thrived in the church's cavernous environment. At times Mitchell ritualisticly shifted his saxophone up and down as if to ensure his sound would touch each one of his spellbound congregation.
Wolf: And that helped to provide a unique sensory experience, one that cannot be fully duplicated by listening to a CD.
Kruty: On the other hand, his provocative new three disc set offers not only Mitchell alone, but through the wonders of overdubbing, several layers of his virtuosity. He sometimes combines saxophones, and adds to his unusual sonorities with the Percussion Cage: a large collection of bells, whistles, toy horns, tiny cymbals, brass pieces, drums---hundreds of instruments that he has collected over the years.
Wolf: Another bold adventure, with Mitchell blazing new trails. And for those unfortunate travelers who couldn't make his daring trip a couple weeks ago, this 3-CD set is the way to go. Book your passage through Mutable Music.
email Joe Kruty
email Will Wolf