Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ed Blackwell: What It Be Like?

The Info:
1 Nebula 9:59
2 Grandma's Shoes 13:05
3 Penta Houve 8:32
4 First Love 7:21
5 Lito, Pt. 1-3 27:58

Ed Blackwell - Drums
Don Cherry - Trumpet
Graham Haynes - Cornet
Mark Helias - Bass
Carlos Ward - Flute, Sax (Alto)

Lee Brenkman - Engineer
Peter Denenberg - Digital Transfers
Jurgen Hubner - Typography
Wolfgang Meyscheider - Mastering
Kunle Mwanga - Producer
James Radke - Photography
Judy Sneed - Photography
Elisabeth Winckelmann - Design
Matthias Winckelmann - Executive Producer
Ed Blackwell made a name for himself in the early '60s drumming with Ornette Coleman's band (Blackwell plays on the free jazz classics THIS IS OUR MUSIC, FREE JAZZ, and ORNETTE ON TENOR). His distinctive approach to timekeeping, which highlights tribal rhythms and New Orleans marching band cadences, is on excellent display on WHAT IT BE LIKE, one of his few dates as a leader. "Nebula", the opener, features a tumbling horn melody with Blackwell providing almost martial accents on the snare, and is an excellent example of his style.

The compositional palette on WHAT IT BE LIKE is broad, with tones, textures, and atmospheres shifting throughout the track list. In "Pentahouve", exuberance prevails with a fragmented Latin shuffle providing the context for a dazzling rhythmic dialogue between Blackwell and flautist Carlos Ward. On the album's closer and set piece, the almost 30-minute "Lito (Parts 1, 2 & 3)", trumpeter Don Cherry joins the ensemble for an evocative exploration of fractured melodies and snake-charmer motifs over a repeated rhythmic pattern. After each band member has soloed, Blackwell's strictly metered flourishes over the snare and tom-toms close out the tune, which in turn closes out this fine set of vital, adventurous jazz.
Download What It Be Like?

Update: corrected the link to the album as of 8:47 pm.