|Reviews - OTHER DIMENSIONS IN MUSIC.. Now! (AUM006)|
On-Line (full review below)
"What these four create is collective music of experience, drawing on
a creative and emotional maturity gained from developing music that
consistently pushes and extends the traditions they have taken part
"People think playing without charts is easy, but to make it work, all parts have to be on a high level. You cannot rest on anything you think you have developed. So that is what is beautiful about this. It just keeps on moving." William Parker in PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
SOUNDBOARD (now Signal To Noise) #6 "World-class improvisers who also reach 'other dimensions' in communication. Cosmic tones for 21st century mental healing that demands to be experienced." -Scott Hreha
CMJ NEW MUSIC REPORT June 15, 1998 "The terms 'beautiful' and 'adventurous' seldom intersect in music, and with avant-garde jazz, beautiful balladry is usually pushed aside in favor of dynamic interplay. Throwing out these common precepts, the four musicians in the New York City quartet Other Dimensions In Music make music that is fiercely adventurous and open-ended, but never far from the beauty of balladry." -Tad Hendrickson
WKCR-FM ON AIR GUIDE October 1998 "Perhaps the most remarkable element of the ensemble's playing is the manner in which the music conveys a sense of calm and beauty within a purely free framework. It is as if the goal of the project was to dispense with the notion that free music is difficult to listen to. This album proves that while this type of creative music is engaging and challenging, it can also be logical, comprehensible and welcoming. The wonderful thing about this music is the seemingly endless maze of musical paths and explorations. Still, one hardly needs to strain the mind to grasp how the musicians so successfully ride the miracle of improvised creation. Instead, one can simply enjoy the beauty of how wonderful this brilliant ensemble makes you feel." -Josh Shapiro
MOD MAGAZINE issue No.5 "The weight of the sound, the heat generated by the coming together of forms, perspectives and talents; as well as the altruism involved, is breathtaking. Horns, bass, drums and organic ideas awaken, warm and release you into the chaos of today." -Keith York
But there's another, unfussed-over school of musicians that has been doggedly evolving into a tensile, vigorous, stunningly intuitive world of sound, recasting ideas and instincts first made prominent in the Sixties with an often electrifying immediacy that is wholly of the moment: this moment. And what else would you call an album of this stuff but Now!. It's only the second album in 15 years by the collaborative quartet Other Dimensions in Music, an unheralded supergroup whose collective history spans everything from Times Square subway sessions to lengthy orbits in the world of Cecil Taylor -- the iconoclastic improviser who, with Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler proved there was life after the conventions of hard-bop.
The genius of this ensemble -- Roy Campbell (trumpet), Daniel Carter (reeds, trumpet), William Parker (bass) and Rashid Bakr (drums) -- is how it embraces the open forms and fluid dynamics advanced by those avant-gardists while imbuing the music with what James Brown would call soul power. The rich lyricism of Blue Expanded, a feather-kissed feature for Campbell and Carter, finds the horns in a blissful conspiracy, pursuing an off-kilter unison that slips and slides teasingly until a climactic volley of fevered notes. It's a seamless prelude to Whispers & Cries of Change, Campbell's spotlight for pocket trumpet-- an instrument mostly associated with Coleman's original trumpeter, Don Cherry -- that is elegant in its quickly sketched economy.
Other Dimensions lives up to, and beyond, its name: There are no "tunes" to use as blueprints for improvisation, but there don't need to be. The character of the musicians shines through with such clarity that you might begin humming one of Parker's buoyant, animated bass lines or hear, in Campbell's ripping 16th-note runs, an echo of those robust birth cries that kick-started the century.
Issue Ten Review by Steve Brydges