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Album Review

This original Wen-Ha recording, independently released by Harrison, is now on a major label — Enja. At last the world at large can hear this richly textured ensemble which incorporates swinging syncopation or Latin rhythms as the foundation for five clarinetists (Ernie Rodgers, Harold Orr, Greg Koltyck, Paul Onachuck and Ken Hobenstreet) to weave their orchestral tapestry while soloists Harrison and the vaunted James Carter (on the monstrous contrabass clarinet) do their thing. Some pretty stunning music is being made here by any criteria. At its deepest and most thoughtful recesses, the ensemble on "Pamela's Holiday," with help from percussionist Mahindi Masai, doles out a modal undercurrent grafted onto a light Afro-Cuban rhythm, and produces some extraordinarily beautiful sounds. The title track swings with a fervor Bechet, Goodman, or DeFranco would stop and take notice of. "Gonna Take You Out" is a jumpy kind of funk, while a nice Latin flavor spices the lone standard "My Shining Hour," arranged by Cassius Richmond. The most modern piece, "The Hooptie," shifts from brooding to optimistic with an ostinato bass and soaring melody, a bit dank but always head nodding, even in the tricky 5/4 time signature. A most spiritual "Urban Lullaby" also sports a light tropical scent, and the closer, a tenor sax driven "Saga of a Carrot" is a hard samba stew that has a heavy, meat and potatoes melody and some avant free segments. Sounds this strong and full cannot be denied their place as a unique entity among modern jazz ensembles. Harrison's imaginative music and arrangements, with help from such fellow Detroiters as pianist Pamela Wise and bassist Marion Hayden, in particular, and the incendiary Carter for added heat, establishes a tradition of its own. Others will simply have to follow to see if they can go one up. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Rush & Hustle, Mama's Licking Stick Clarinet Ensemble
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock, Bop
  • Released: 1994

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