Art Ensemble of Chicago ‘Tribute to Lester (Bowie)’ (ECM)

Lester Bowie’s album ‘The great pretender’ sits proudly on my shelf next to J.R.Bailey, Stevie Wonder, Yusef lateef and many others (as he looks over his shoulder) and is a precious moment in history. Lester’s departure from this soil left many feeling deprived and it’s ECM that holds and cherishes this feeling and takes you out there with this brand new album.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago are represented here by Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors Moghostut and Famoudou Don Moye, three of the original members that gave us, so often, inspiration in their music back in the 60s and 70s and to whome present for us here a thought-provoking and deep incite into the world of jazz music through their established eyes.
We like this, the six compositions begin with enchanting African rhythms that build and build into a fabulous rich piece of free jazz for 2003. Typical ECM sound, quality in the recording, sophistication in every way, but distinctive in its application but perhaps not for every ear – it’s intelligent with a “must sit and listen” grip on the recipient. It is far from accessible. It is strong and precise, but most of all it is jazz.

Steve Williams