AUM Fidelity

AUM006 -
Album Reviews

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1. For the Glass Tear / After Evening's Orange
2. Tears for the Boy Wonder (for Winston
....Marsalis) 5.26
3. Blue Expanded 12.16
4. Whispers & Cries of Change
....(for departed musical warriors) 6.04
5. Dawn 8.23
6. Steve's Festive Visions Revisited 8.20

All compositions by Other Dimensions in Music,
Centering Music (BMI) / Camroy Music (ASCAP) 1997
p+c 1998 AUM Fidelity

Roy Campbell Jr. - trumpet, ...flugelhorn, pocket trumpet
Daniel Carter - alto sax,
...tenor sax, flute, trumpet
William Parker - bass
Rashid Bakr - drums
Produced by Steven Joerg and ODIM
Recorded and mixed by Jim Anderson at Sound On Sound Studio, NYC on March 19, 1997
Mastered by Alan Tucker at Foothill Digital, NYC
Artwork by Marilyn Sontag
Design by Ming@409
Photography by Michael Galinsky

OTHER DIMENSIONS IN MUSIC is a collective creative improvising quartet of epic proportions. 'Now!' was their first new album in 9 years; only their second in 15 years of togetherness. This is soul improv at its most magical; I kid you not. A stone classic this album; for the ages. Soul-sonics of deep compassion and receptivity to the world which surrounds. When the time comes that a majority of Americans listens to ODIM once a week, then we'll all be happier for the wisdom imparted from within. -SJ

From the liner notes by K. Leander Williams:

The voices that rise and shatter,
......................................and those that fade
.........................................................they color the darkness

-Octavio Paz

Popular perception of the avant-garde--and the jazz avant-garde, in particular--is still sadly one-dimensional, even despite the fact that the music's emotional underpinnings certainly harness variety. If anything, it's the by-product of a culture that has settled on an extremely limited palette for beauty, one that evaluates sound using the simplest, most programmatic and literal means. This tone, we're told, always connotes happiness, and that one, sadness.

It's probably safe to say that the four improvisers that make up Other Dimensions in Music see things a bit differently. There are examples of this throughout the CD you are now holding, but perhaps the first clue might be found in the relaxation that breezes us into the first track, "For the Glass Tear." The collective introduces the music somewhat casually, inviting the listener in by first acclimating them with a number of possible dynamics. Listen for the way the trumpet and tenor saxophone breathe the extemporaneous opening line together, finishing in time for the bass and drums to enter on the same soulful wavelength. It's free improvisation without a whiff of formlessness, and exudes warmth almost in spite of itself. Even after the rhythm section pushes the piece into another gear just moments later, the music's flowing naturalness asks us to consider 33-minutes of astonishing new dimensions, skewering the idea of avant-gardism as a chaotic jumble.

Something Parker explained about this was telling. The idea of making marathon jams cohesive, he says, "came from an idea I've had since the '70s about being able to play a ballad all night long. You know how [pianist] Paul Bley used to play those short ballads that were so arresting? I just thought 'what if you could play ballads--like [Bley's]--that would never end?' Once I heard [trumpeter] Art Farmer play a whole set's worth of interesting solos in the same tempo. He just kept turning it over and over. It's easy to play something fast, then something slow, whatever, but is it possible to just stay in one groove--one color--and burn? No dead spaces, no lulls. Now that's a challenge."

It would seem that another (and perhaps the biggest) of the collective's challenges is to face down the conservatism and/or myopia stated at the onset of these notes; too often, the perceptions associated with it still cast an imposing shadow over the jazz idiom. Even though the collective's views might be gleaned from titles like "Blue Expanded" and "Whispers and Cries of Change," the music here speaks for itself.

Nowhere, from the rumbling cymbal and tom-tom work of Bakr to the fleet exchanges between sax and trumpet and the full-bodIed attack of Parker, do we hear anything here that sounds remotely unrelated to the soul of the jazz impetus. And think of Campbell's funereal growls on "Tears for the Boy Wonder (for Wynton)" as the best cry of all, an example of how the tears of the past can be splendidly integrated into the emotional vocabulary of the present. (Or should we say, the Now!) Enjoy.
-K. Leander Williams, February 1998

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