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Album Review

The follow-up to their highly successful (at least artistically) album Sideshow, Ant Farm treads a similar path, though perhaps in a slightly more straight-ahead vein, with more light-footed activity and less brooding contemplation. All the pieces are by leader Wilkerson, tending toward a jaunty swing spiced with a tinge of down-home rhythm and blues and a taste of gospel. Once again, his ensemble is made up of all fine instrumentalists, playing the written parts with verve and improvising imaginatively. Reedist Mwata Bowden and bassist Harrison Bankhead stand out in this regard. While very enjoyable, Ant Farm lacks the particular spark of its predecessor; their generally relaxed nature catches up to them a bit here causing a couple of numbers to lag and languish. The interested listener might be better off beginning with Sideshow to hear this wonderful band at the peak of its powers.


Formed: January, 1985

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Perhaps it's because he stayed put in Chicago while so many of his AACM colleagues moved to New York, or maybe because he's a bit younger than his more well-known compatriots, but tenor saxophonist Edward Wilkerson Jr. has never gotten the exposure his talents deserve. In the '80s, when N.Y.C.-based saxophonist and bandleader David Murray was getting raves for his octet work, Wilkerson's 8 Bold Souls were making music every bit as profound. Indeed, Wilkerson's outfit outshone Murray's in many ways...
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Ant Farm, 8 Bold Souls
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