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Art Ensemble Of Chicago|We Are On the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

We Are On the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

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We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration from Pi Recordings, represents the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago's first studio recording in 15 years and features an expanded cast. It arrives some four months after the passing of founding member Joseph Jarman in January 2019 (he doesn't appear), leaving the band's surviving core membership of Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye. The Art Ensemble of Chicago has, since the very beginning, dedicated itself to African diasporic music; their motto is "Great Black Music-Ancient to the Future." Their long tenure also reflects the individual personas of its creators through jazz, advanced compositional techniques, theatrical performance, poetry, and Pan-African percussion, along with an improvisational flair and an exploratory collective persona. Comprised of two discs, this set includes a meticulous studio session and a rousing live concert captured in Ann Arbor, Michigan at Edgefest 2018. This offering is not a mere retrospective, but even its revisioning of older pieces is a startling new creation that surviving members pull off with a diverse group of 15 highly individual talents who bring their own approaches to the AEC's aesthetic lineage. They include Jaribu Shahid, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reed, Hugh Ragin, Junius Paul, and many more. Together, these virtuoso musicians honor the group's history and help advance the legacy of deceased members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Jarman. Vocalist Rodolfo Cordova-Lebron opens the studio disc with his chamber-style singing of Mitchell's art song "Variations and Sketches from the Bamboo Terrace" and later delivers the two-part "Jamaica Farewell." The band delivers scorching rhythmic interplay on the completely revisioned "Chi Congo 50" (its original dates from 1972). The spoken and sung poetry of Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) drives Mitchell's insistent title track and Moye's sprawling, trippy, and profound "Mama Koko." The interplay among players is intuitive, economic, and joyous, guided by the inspiration of the AEC's founders; individual traces are all but erased as a striking, spontaneous whole emerges in the studio. Readings of some of the previous and legacy works become different animals altogether live. The album's title track, for example, is not delivered as a celebratory exploration of sound and poetry, but as a long chamber piece with terrain eked out for free improvisation. "Oasis at Dusk" melds African folk rhythms and hard-grooving vanguard soul-jazz with a killer flute solo from Nicole Mitchell. There is also a reading of Favours' "Tutankhamun" that bridges swinging post-bop, funk, and aggressive improvisation, while the live "Mama Koko" unfolds like a folk song before spiraling into the jazz unknown. The live "Saturday Morning" is a percussive study in harmony and dynamics with swirling brass, reed, and woodwind improv adding poignancy to the beat-driven backdrop as urgent, celebratory vocal ululations expressly highlight an otherwise all but hidden melodic statement. The sheer breadth of the ensemble's expression on We Are on the Edge is staggering, a strident declaration that Mitchell and Moye will carry the AEC's powerful, boundary-less creative ethos full force into its sixth decade.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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We Are On the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Art Ensemble Of Chicago

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1
Variations and Sketches from the Bamboo Terrace
00:07:49

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

2
Bell Song
00:06:38

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

3
We are on the Edge
00:08:21

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

4
I Greet You with Open Arms
00:06:18

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Collective Improvisation, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

5
Chi-Congo 50
00:09:42

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Titos Sompa, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

6
Jamaican Farewell Part I
00:01:26

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

7
Villa Tiamo
00:01:24

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Lester Bowie, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

8
Saturday Morning
00:04:34

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

9
Jamaican Farewell Part II
00:01:40

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

10
Mama Koko
00:07:40

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Titos Sompa, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

11
Fanfare and Bell
00:06:48

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer - Tomeka Reid, FeaturedArtist

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

12
Oasis at Dusk
00:08:13

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

DISQUE 2

1
We are on the Edge/Cards (Live)
00:15:30

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

2
Oasis at Dusk (Live)
00:08:58

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

3
Chi-Congo 50 (Live)
00:02:38

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Titos Sompa, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

4
Tutankhamun (Live)
00:19:29

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Malachi Favors Maghostut, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

5
Mama Koko (Live)
00:11:06

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Titos Sompa, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

6
Saturday Morning (Live)
00:05:16

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Famoudou Don Moye, Enoch Williamson, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

7
Odwalla/The Theme (Live)
00:08:02

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, MainArtist - Roscoe Mitchell, Composer

2019 Pi Recordings 2019 Pi Recordings

Descriptif de l'album

We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration from Pi Recordings, represents the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago's first studio recording in 15 years and features an expanded cast. It arrives some four months after the passing of founding member Joseph Jarman in January 2019 (he doesn't appear), leaving the band's surviving core membership of Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye. The Art Ensemble of Chicago has, since the very beginning, dedicated itself to African diasporic music; their motto is "Great Black Music-Ancient to the Future." Their long tenure also reflects the individual personas of its creators through jazz, advanced compositional techniques, theatrical performance, poetry, and Pan-African percussion, along with an improvisational flair and an exploratory collective persona. Comprised of two discs, this set includes a meticulous studio session and a rousing live concert captured in Ann Arbor, Michigan at Edgefest 2018. This offering is not a mere retrospective, but even its revisioning of older pieces is a startling new creation that surviving members pull off with a diverse group of 15 highly individual talents who bring their own approaches to the AEC's aesthetic lineage. They include Jaribu Shahid, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reed, Hugh Ragin, Junius Paul, and many more. Together, these virtuoso musicians honor the group's history and help advance the legacy of deceased members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Jarman. Vocalist Rodolfo Cordova-Lebron opens the studio disc with his chamber-style singing of Mitchell's art song "Variations and Sketches from the Bamboo Terrace" and later delivers the two-part "Jamaica Farewell." The band delivers scorching rhythmic interplay on the completely revisioned "Chi Congo 50" (its original dates from 1972). The spoken and sung poetry of Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) drives Mitchell's insistent title track and Moye's sprawling, trippy, and profound "Mama Koko." The interplay among players is intuitive, economic, and joyous, guided by the inspiration of the AEC's founders; individual traces are all but erased as a striking, spontaneous whole emerges in the studio. Readings of some of the previous and legacy works become different animals altogether live. The album's title track, for example, is not delivered as a celebratory exploration of sound and poetry, but as a long chamber piece with terrain eked out for free improvisation. "Oasis at Dusk" melds African folk rhythms and hard-grooving vanguard soul-jazz with a killer flute solo from Nicole Mitchell. There is also a reading of Favours' "Tutankhamun" that bridges swinging post-bop, funk, and aggressive improvisation, while the live "Mama Koko" unfolds like a folk song before spiraling into the jazz unknown. The live "Saturday Morning" is a percussive study in harmony and dynamics with swirling brass, reed, and woodwind improv adding poignancy to the beat-driven backdrop as urgent, celebratory vocal ululations expressly highlight an otherwise all but hidden melodic statement. The sheer breadth of the ensemble's expression on We Are on the Edge is staggering, a strident declaration that Mitchell and Moye will carry the AEC's powerful, boundary-less creative ethos full force into its sixth decade.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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