Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - December 5/07

The best jazz flautist around today is back with another strong album. This one ought to reach more people through the venerable Delmark label, still putting out Chicago's essential music after more than 50 years. I think it's a (good) sign of the times that there is a reasonable degree of crossover between this venerable indie label and Chi-town's other venerable indie label, Thrill Jockey (holla to Okka Disk , too). Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Jeff Parker (who's on this album), Harrison Bankhead, Rob Mazurek, Hamid Drake, Ed Wilkerson and others have released music on both labels. From this outsider's perspective, that looks like a whole bunch of creative musicians collectively advancing themselves.

While she does play a less common instrument in jazz, it's her imaginative arrangements which have showcased her versatile playing in its best light. While the album starts with a fairly predictable but swinging head/solo/head fashion, it moves into more involved song structures as the disc wears on. As mentioned above, Jeff Parker plays guitar, and in a way substitutes for Mitchell's expansive use of percussion on her first three records. She always treated percussion in a highly tonal fashion as well as rhythmic, so Parker's rhythm parts often sit where the percussion used to be. Tomeka Reid's expressive, dramatic cello is another beautiful aspect of this music, and hotshot trumpeter David Young has some good moments too. Running the gamut from blues to minimalism to freedom ("The Creator Has Other Plans For Me" is a great riff on the title of the too-often covered Leon Thomas/Pharoah Sanders tune), Black Unstoppable is brimming with soul - the kind you need in your windy city during these winter months.
life wants you to love - nicole mitchell/black earth ensemble (delmark)
okwukwe na nchedkwube - celestine ukwu & his philosophers national (soundway)
a sparrow - nifty (blocksblocksblocks)
ave genghis khan - mutantes (luaka bop)
for fela kuti #2 - tony wilson sextet (drip audio)
zut! - deep dark united (rat drifting) played this two weeks in a row - zut alors!
tamaghis - tied and tickled trio (morr music)
dub rock - soundstorm (soul jazz)
recurrents - parkdale revolutionary orchestra (no label)
anyango mbeo - kenge kenge (riverboat)
keep on looking - sharon jones & the dap kings rmx. by kenny dope (daptone)
mr. lucky - betty wright (numero)
fever - mary queenie lyons (vampisoul)
money won't save you - boscoe (*)
martha cecilia (realentada) - mario galeano (no label)
ethio-steppers - the lions (ubiquity)
libros sagrados - gondwana (putumayo)
dispensation - daddy rings (groove attack)
why oh why - ernest & sound dimension (studio one)
ghetto organ - jackie mittoo (studio one)

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