THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO — Fundamental Destiny (review)

THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO — Fundamental Destiny album cover Live album · 2007 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
snobb
Art Ensemble of Chicago were probably more cultural than purely musical act. Their jazz-circus was a part of revolution - both in jazz and on Paris streets in late 60s where they resided for few years. Having equal number of hot fans and haters,band's music always was free and catchy at the same time,traditional (pre-bop) jazz rooted and often placing entertaining/relaxation element above virtuosity.

Ensemble's phenomena till now is there are much more people knowing about them than those who really listened to their music.One of the reasons is there are only few really strong albums among their legacy. As rule, regular Art Ensemble Of Chicago's album is a bulky collection of few catchy tunes, marching dixieland,lot of directionless improvs ("different noises" are probably better tag), their trade mark "small instruments" sounds plus gospel singing,funny at their best moments and almost kind of self-parody at their worst.

"Fundamental Destiny" is one of the last band's released albums,recorded live in Germany still in 1991 though.Self-released by band in 2007 only it contains their usual relaxed eclectic mix. Main album's attraction is it represents one of unique for the band moments when they have piano player on board. And her it is not just a piano player, but renown Don Pullen, who adds some new colors to generally quite expect-able band's sound.

Just four long compositions with their signature "People In Sorrow" coming from their debut album,released in 1969. Same whistles and "small instruments" noises, which don't sound as avant-garde (as it was in late 60s) or as cheap traveling circus (as it sounded in 80s or 90s) anymore. Their attributes after more than half of the century looks like a part of historical event titled "Art Ensemble Of Chicago". Fans will like it, haters will find here another reason for their jokes, in all cases this is already history, nothing else.

On positive side,"Fundamental Destiny" is quite essential as for band's standards, album demonstrating band in a good form. Band followers will like it, but most probably this release wouldn't recruit them new fans.
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