Art Ensemble Of Chicago: Joseph Jarman (saxophone, flute, whistle, clarinet, bassoon, synthesizer, percussion); Roscoe Mitchell (saxophone, flute, whistle, clarinet, percussion); Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn, drums, percussion); Malachi Favors (melodica, acoustic & electric basses, percussion); Famoudou Don Moye (drums, congas, timpani, percussion).
Additional personnel includes: Matthew Shipp (piano).
Recorded between 1978 & 1997.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This is part of ECM Records "Rarum" series.
Personnel: Craig Taborn (piano); Fred Williams (double bass); George Lewis (trombone); Gerald Cleaver (drums); Jaribu Shahid (vocals, double bass); Lester Bowie (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn, horns, celesta, bass drum, cymbals); Matthew Shipp (piano); Phillip Wilson (drums); Tani Tabbal (vocals, drums, djembe); William Parker (double bass); Roscoe Mitchell (vocals, whistling, flute, bamboo flute, piccolo, clarinet, oboe, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, horns, glockenspiel, congas, bongos, wood block, pans, bells, gong, chimes); Joseph Jarman (vocals, whistling, flute, alto flute, piccolo, conch shell, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, horns, synthesizer, vibraphone, bass drum, congas, tom tom, bells, gong, siren); Famoudou Don Moye (vocals, whistling, conch shell, horns, marimba, balafon, drums, bass drum, congas, bongos, bendir, cowbells, cymbals, djembe, timpani, wood block, gong, chimes, donno); Malachi Favors Maghostus (vocals, melodica, double bass, electric bass, percussion); David Peaston, Fontella Bass (vocals); John Abercrombie (guitar, mandolin); Dwight Andrews (alto flute, bass clarinet, triangle); Ari Brown (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone); Leo Smith (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, gong); Stanton Davis, Jr. (trumpet, flugelhorn); Hugh Ragin, Kenny Wheeler, Malachi Thompson, Rasul Siddik, Bruce Purse (trumpet); Vincent Chancey (French horn); Frank Lacy, Steve Turre (trombone); Bob Stewart (tuba); Jack DeJohnette (piano, drums); Art Matthews (piano); Bobby Naughton (vibraphone, marimba, bells); Eddie Gomez , Charlie Haden (double bass).
Recording information: Ludwigsburg, Germany (05/1978-05/1997); Munich, Germany (05/1978-05/1997); New York, NY (05/1978-05/1997).
Photographers: Roberto Masotti; Ralph Quinke.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dwight Andrews; Leo Smith.
Alone among the first eight albums of the ECM Rarum series, the Art Ensemble of Chicago edition is a group effort, with surviving members Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors, and Don Moye offering only a brief greeting in the booklet. There were only four Art Ensemble of Chicago albums over only a half-dozen years (1978-1984), so listeners get two tracks from the initial offering, "Nice Guys" and "Full Force," and one apiece from Urban Bushmen and The Third Decade. The nearly 20-minutes-long "Megg Zelma" and 11-minute "Folkus" have an abundance of the free abstract playing, Dada theater, percussion circuses, sound effects, and freaky humor that might be part of a live Art Ensemble of Chicago concert -- recorded with breathtaking clarity and sounding sharper than ever in the 96khz/24-bit digital remastering. Yet there is also a sample of the more ethereal side of the Art Ensemble of Chicago in "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi," with flutes, trumpet, and soprano sax repeating a haunting modal tune in triple meter. To fill out the CD, ECM includes a fine 1981 Latin-flavored Lester Bowie solo track, "Rios Negroes" (the Bowie ECM solo discography is actually the same size as that of the Art Ensemble's) and reaches all the way to 1997 for a chaotic Roscoe Mitchell free-form solo session, "Nine to Get Ready." Despite the cool, genteel ECM image, the Art Ensemble of Chicago's renegade madness comes through in this reissue in full force -- with great sound to match -- so it can be recommended as an introduction to their freewheeling soundworld. ~ Richard S. Ginell