ROSCOE MITCHELL — Conversations I (with Craig Taborn & Kikanju Baku) (review)

ROSCOE MITCHELL — Conversations I (with Craig Taborn & Kikanju Baku) album cover Album · 2014 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
snobb
Seventy-three year old Art Ensemble of Chicago legend Roscoe Mitchell experiences one of his most creative periods during last years. "Conversations I" is one of his most current albums and differently from some his more contemporary classic-related recordings it contains improvisational jazz.

Besides of Roscoe,trio contains two musicians of young generation: well known pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn(who already collaborated with Mitchell on some recordings) and virtually unknown drummer Kikanju Baku,who in my eyes is real hero of this album. Seventy-something minutes long free-form improvisational release could sound as danger in many listeners minds,and not without reason - too often even talented musicians enjoy playing what they like to play with each other and using the modern technologies' possibilities offers all that endless noise to public,searching on new "New Things".As a result more and more even enthusiastic experimental music fans starting to avoid everything what is attractively tagged as "free form improvisational suite presented in full without editing..." etc,etc.Fortunately, "Conversations" are not that kind of beauty,even more - this music in many senses is right opposite to thrillers,described above.

From very first seconds "Conversations"' listener feels like he's presented on good old friends meeting - each musical instrument is extremely close to speechless hunam voice here, not always by its sound but more important - by the way it's used. Roscoe plays relaxed but very active story-telling saxes and flute,changing every minute,with million of intonations,subtle emotions and unusual warmness. Fantastic drummer Baku demonstrates true miracles - his quirky and technical drumming doesn't sound as mechanical device produced sound at all. Extremely percussive album could be described as collection of dialogues, and even those who don't understand the language,are involved and really enjoy the process of conversation.

Craig Taborn's keyboards are important but only supportive instrument here; its sound as youngest friend in a meeting who enjoys listening to dialogues of two his friends and adds some comments trying to be tactic and doesn't destroy great atmosphere.

The main miracle is still how beautiful and easy-accessible sound this quirky and complex music. Most probably it happens because all album long things changes every moment: one can hardly find two same tricks or steps here. Telepathic communication,warm and stylish atmosphere,tasteful balancing between beauty and complex - all that ingredients makes this album one of the best recordings I listened for quite a long time.Sound quality is excellent - listener feels like sitting between the musicians on scene.

And - if you will like this album and will feel like it's not enough, there are "Conversation 2" released by same trio, similar but a bit different second part of the real joy.
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