ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO
|| "Certain Blacks 'Do What They Wanna'"
|| "One for the Jarman"
The America label was a short-lived French effort that, for
all intents and purposes, picked up where the BYG Actuel series
left off. Musically speaking, anyway
Certain Blacks begins with the assertion that said company,
among other things, "do what they wanna" and "dig
their freedom." Both claims seem to be in evidence almost
immediately here as, once they finish the aforementioned vocal
refrain, the group dives head first into unbridled free improvisation
without looking back--stutter-step theme that only vaguely resembles
Gershwin's "Summertime" not withstanding. Before scaring
you too much, though, I want to make sure and say that, even when
the Art Ensemble goes completely apeshit, it's nothing like the
pummeling assault of, say, Brötzmann's Machine Gun.
Instead, and even at their most fevered moments, this is a music
of celebration. Any and all inhibitions are cast aside in favor
of complete elation and unimpeded expression, both of self and
of community--no matter how you define the latter.
Fans of the jazz avant-garde should already know what to expect
here but, for the uninitiated, one might even make comparisons
to the more improvised side of the Animal Collective, as the members
of the group wander from instrument to instrument, chanting and
yelping whenever the feeling hits. This is especially evident
on the title track wherein the listener sometimes gets the feeling
that he's listening to a handful of school kids that were granted
free reign to the music room for recess. Of the other two numbers,
"One for Jarman" is particularly enjoyable, with harmonica
player Chicago Beau providing the stabilizing anchor throughout.
(For the record, I haven't made a jazz mixtape that didn't have
"One for Jarman" on it in probably ten years.) [BB]