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Flat-out Jump Suite

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Album Review

A suite in four parts aligned with aspects of sensual awareness, Julius Hemphill's Flat-Out Jump Suite runs from the light and delicate to the hard and funky. "Ear" flutters by on the leader's flute, all gossamer and weightlessness, supported by Warren Smith's soft cymbal work. Olu Dara's clear, gumbo-soaked trumpet, one of the great sounds from the '80s jazz avant-garde, heralds "Body," in conjunction with Abdul Wadud's bluesy cello. With "Mind," the pace picks up — Hemphill switches to tenor and the piece achieves a nice, loose throb as much of the time is devoted to collective improvisation. Finally, with "Body," the natural progression reaches its logical destination, a funky groove all supple and greasy. If not up to the ecstatic levels of his classic "The Hard Blues," it's still an easily enjoyable number with Wadud laying down cooking lines like few other cellists dream of. Flat-Out Jump Suite is not in the top shelf of Hemphill albums, but it's a solid set from a quartet of fine musicians.

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Flat-out Jump Suite, Julius Hemphill Quartet
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