lundi 29 novembre 2010

The Art Ensemble of Chicago - Les Stances a Sophie (1970)

In 1970, the members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago were living as expatriats in Paris. The group had only recently expanded to its permanent quintet status with the addition of drummer/percussionist Don Moye when they were asked by New Wave director Moshe Misrahi to provide the soundtrack for his movie, Les Stances a Sophie. The music was never used in the film but, luckily, i twas recorded. The result was one of the landmark records of the burgeoning avant-garde of the time and, simply put, one of the greatest jazz albums ever. On two of the tracks, the Art Ensemble is joined by vocalist Fontella Bass, at the time the wife of trumpeter  Lester Bowie and riding the success of her pop-soul hit Rescue Me. She's featured most prominently on the opening number, Theme De Yoyo, an astounding piece that has achieved legendary status as the finest fusion of funk and avant-garde jazz ever recorded. The mix is indeed seamless, with Moye and Favors laying down a throbbing, infectious groove, Bass singing the surreally erotic lyrics with enormous soul and the horn players soloing with ecstatic abandon. The remaining pieces cover a wide range stylistically with no less beauty and imagination, including two variations on a theme by Monteverdi, intense free improvising and soft, deeply probing sonic investigations.Their extensive knowledge of prior jazz styles, love of unusual sound sources (the so-called "little instruments) and fearless exploration of the furthest reaches of both instrumental and compositional possibilities came into full flower on this record.
                                                      By Brian Olewnick (Allmusic Review)
Tracklist :
 1. Thème De Yo-Yo   9:06
 2. Thème De Céline   3:03
 3. Variations Sur Un Thème De Monteverdi (I, II, III)   4:47
 4. Thème De l'Amour Universel   3:52
 5. Proverbes (I, II, III)   3:56
 6. Thème "Libre"   8:53

Credits :
Fontella Bass : Piano, Tambourine, Vocals
Lester Bowie : Flugelhorn, Percussion, Trumpet
Malachi Favors : Bass, Percussion
Joseph Jarman : Flute, Percussion, Sax (Alto, Tenor and Soprano)
Roscoe Mitchell : Clarinet, Flute, Sax (Alto, Tenor and Soprano)
Famoudou Don Moye : Drums

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