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Planetary Unknown is more than a free-jazz summit meeting: it’s an event. Saxophonist David S. Ware, pianist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker, and drummer Muhammad Ali bring a lot of history to this 2011 release. For starters, Ware and Parker have played with Cecil Taylor, and Ali collaborated with the late Albert Ayler, and it’s great to hear these musicians all play together for the first time. The lengthy opener, “Passage Wudang,” takes the listener on quite an exploration. Fire Music turns to impressionism in the piece’s last section, where Ware’s tenor sax becomes warm and husky, Cooper-Moore plays lovely block chords, and the rhythm section creates enveloping textures. The quartet operates in a relatively mellow mode on “Divination,” which starts off with a nice solo piano statement, and has some delightful sopranino saxophone lines. Once again, the rhythm section brings color to the piece. “Ancestry Supramental” finds Ware letting loose on stritch, a woodwind associated with the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Planetary Unknown makes it clear that free jazz burns brightly in the 21st century.

Planetary Unknown, Cooper-Moore
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