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Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound & Space Ensembles

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Album Review

Wherein composer/multi-instrumentalist Mitchell mixes and matches two of his regular working groups of the early '80s, the free-flowing and often funky Sound Ensemble and the more academic Space Ensemble. The first track, with the latter group, is Mitchell at his most arid and sterile, with vocalist Tom Buckner portentously intoning words that presumably roll off the tongue nicely, while two horns offer scattered background. Contrast that with the ensuing "You Wastin' My Time," a raucous, quasi-rap number (with Mitchell on vocals!) which is messy, all over the place, a little bit silly, but brimming with life. The Sound Ensemble, with Mike Mossman replacing original member Hugh Ragin, wends its way through two delicate improvisations and also launches into the grooving "Linefine Lyon Seven" with rich, funky lead lines, fine collective improv, and jaunty soloing. Unfortunately, the album ends with another lengthy track similar to the first, where preciousness overwhelms sensitivity, with the result being more a dry exercise than an organic whole. For serious Mitchell fans, this is worth having for the highlights; newcomers might find an easier "in" with the slightly earlier and utterly wonderful Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes on Nessa.


Born: 03 August 1940 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Roscoe Mitchell is the rare jazz musician who also moves comfortably within the realm of contemporary classical music. It might even be said that Mitchell is a more convincing artist when working with European-influenced forms. When relying on structural and formal jazz conventions, Mitchell can often come off as stilted and unswinging. On the other hand, his forays into free-time, non-tonal improvisation (both structured and unstructured) are as spontaneous and as emotionally satisfying as the best...
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Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound & Space Ensembles, Roscoe Mitchell
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  • 7,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 28 December 1984

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