Montag, 11. Juli 2022

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Full Force (1980)

The previous Art Ensemble of Chicago ECM album "Nice Guys" vaulted them to the top of improvised music groups in the U.S. and worldwide, paving the way for similar bands to be more accepted into the mainstream of modern music. 

Where "Full Force" generally lives up to the title, there's also a palpable diverse approach, producing more than enough potent music brimming from the sinews of these brilliant musicians to uphold their burgeoning cache. The crown jewel of this effort is "Charlie M," a bluesy swing tribute to Charles Mingus. Trumpeter Lester Bowie leads out, Roscoe Mitchell on bass sax underpins a memorable melody, while Malachi Favors expertly walks the bass into a free section with a Mitchell solo, and back to the head. The A-B-A song form approach is one that lends pure accessibility to this track, but a similar mode is also stretched into true "full force" swagger on "Old Time Southside Street Dance." Its unrestrained circus-like aggressive line and maniacal free bop body, with Mitchell digging in on his tangential alto solo, is head turning. 

The title cut is fully developed and chameleon-like, as the AEC employ their full arsenal of instruments, using flute and bassoon with spooky undertones merging into a snare drum-fired militaristic march beat with swirling horns, two flutes alone from Mitchell and Joseph Jarman, a Latin conga beat provided by Famoudou Don Moye, loop style trumpet and comic relief from Bowie, rock & roll drumming and a melodica repast. 

Similarly "Magg Zelma" moves constantly into various phases from bloogles (plastic sound tubes) and bells in minimal gamelan fashion to percussion thrashings, bicycle horns, duck calls, vibes, celeste, glockenspiel, and eventually saxes and trumpet in a piece reflective of sounds from the whole animal kingdom on the Ark. 

Their music in this era continued in a developmental phase, stripping away nuance and shadings in lieu of pure expressionism, even more experimental while utilizing thematic ideas that alternately suggest world music fusions and tune structures. This may be the most accessible Art Ensemble of Chicago album, perhaps disappointing for some hardcore fans, but certainly illuminating to many others unexposed to their unmitigated brilliance.


A1 Magg Zelma 19:53
A2 Care Freel 0:45
B1 Charlie M 9:18
B2 Old Time Southside Street Dance 5:12
B3 Full Force 7:23

(320 kbps, cover art included)

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