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Art Ensemble Of Chicago, The / We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
Album:We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Collection:Jazz
Artist:Art Ensemble Of Chicago, The Added:04/2019
Label:Pi Recordings 

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Add Date:2019-05-10 Pull Date:2019-07-12 Charts:Jazz
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Album Review
Tom McCarter
Reviewed 2019-04-27 
Reviewed: 2018-04-27
Genre: Jazz
FCCs: none
Review: The AEC changed jazz, new music, world music, and performance art. Only two original members remain, but the missing members’ spirits live on in this expanded line-up. This disc reignites some AEC classics and sets sail to the future. Original member Roscoe Mitchell flexes his classical leanings alongside minimal soundscapes, percussive excursions, and an eternal groove. The studio session also boosts the afro-futurist poetry and vocals of Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) and the lush vocals of Rodolfo Cordova-Lebron. The live disc, which repeats five compositions from the studio recordings, takes the affair to another level.
If You Like: Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, William Parker, Sheldon Brown Quartet, Penderecki
Track Review (favorites denoted by *):
DISC 1
1/ Variations & Sketches from the Bamboo Forest (7:49 – horns/synth/strings start loud, then settles into a midtempo spooky drone jam> pause> male vocal sings over midtempo spooky sounding jam> pause midtempo spacy jam with cellos> pause> midtempo space jam with male vocal singing> quick fade
**2/ Bell Song (6:38) – Tibetan bell starts> slow space jam with flutes, intermittent percussion & bells, saxes, & animal-like sounds> slowly builds in volume & atmosphere> to a crescendo, then mellows to fade
*3/ We Are On The Edge (8:21) – trumpet starts slow> pause> slow jam with horns> pause> slow jam with cellos> pause> trumpet segues into a chorus of hors> bowed bass morphs into slow space jam with horns out front> pause> spoken word poetry over swelling cellos> midtempo jam & fade
4/ I Greet You With Open Arms – strings start> midtempo jam with Male vocal spoken poetry> instrumenatl break> poetry over space jam> fade
**5/ Chi-Congo 50 (9:42) – horns start with animal-like sounds like a jungle waking up> percussion kicks in> midtempo off-kilter jam swings uptempo with strong percussion> quick stop
6/ Jamaican Farewell Part l (1:26) – cello starts> slow song with male vocal with beautiful melody underneath> quick fade on vocal
7/ Villa Tiamo (1:24) – horns start> slow jam with beautiful melody> fade
*8/ Saturday Morning (4:34) – bass starts> percussion jam with bass> quick stop
9/ Jamaican Farewell ii (1:40) – male vocal starts singing with beautiful melody underneath> quick fade
**10/ Mama Koko (7:40) – strings/synth starts> vocal chorus kicks in> uptempo jam with male spoken vocal interjected, female chorus, animal-like sounds, & synths swirl through the mix> quick fade
11/ Fanfare And Bell (6:48) – trumpets start> off=kilter midtempo space jam with shifting instrumentation & melodies, interspersed with bells> slow fade
***12/ Oasis At Dusk (8:13) – drums/bells/synth start> midtempo space jam with bells interspersed slowly builds in tempo into off-kilter jam with a celestial female chorus & a middle eastern vibe> builds in volume & complexity, then mellows slightly to fade
DISC 2
*1/ We Are On The Edge/ Cards (15:30) – trumpet starts slow> slow space jam> pause> slow jam with cellos> slow jam with synth & animal-like sounds builds in volume, then mellows> slow motion jam with music coming in waves> quick fade
**2/ Oasis At Dusk (8:58) – (applause) – bass/percussion starts> uptempo jam with celestial female chorus & middle eastern vibe> flute solo> percussion solo> uptempo jam> slow fade into next track
3/ Chi-Congo 50 (2:38) – percussion solo
*4/ Tutankhamun (19:29) – djembe/bass starts> midtempo jam> bass solo> midtempo jam segues into off-kilter space jam> builds in volume & intensity> off-kilter sax solo slows to slow space jam> builds in volume into several false stops & starts> quick stop
**5/ Mama Koko (11:06) – rain-like sounds start> slow jam with synth, female chorus, percussion> male chanting vocal kicks in> mellows into midtempo space jam> swings into uptempo, then slows way down to slow space jam> slow fade
*6/ Saturday Morning (5:16) – percussion jam starts> fast off-kilter jam> quick stop
7/ Odwalla/ The Theme (8:02) – horns start> midtempo jam with loping bass & big brass> flute solo> spoken band intro> big brassy uptempo jam> crescendo end

Track Listing
1.(Disc 1) Variations And Sketched From The Bamboo Terrace 10.Mama Koko
2.Bell Song 11.Fanfare And Bell
3.We Are On The Edge 12.Oasis At Dusk
4.I Greet You With Open Arms 13.(Disc 2) We Are On The Edge/cards
5.Chi-Congo 50 14.Oasis At Dusk
6.Jamacan Farewell Part 1 15.Chi-Congo 50
7.Villa Tiamo 16.Tutunkhamen
8.Saturday Morning 17.Mama Koko
9.Jamacan Farewell Part 2 18.Saturday Morning
 19.Odwalla/ The Theme