This outstanding DVD includes a memorable live performance by the most influential avant-garde jazz band of the 70s and 80s, the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The primary innovators in the fusion of traditional African and African American music with European performance art, the AEC are legendary for their inimitable stage shows.
Dressed up in African costumes, odd masks and colorful face paint, the group transports its audience through time and space on eight brilliantly improvised tunes. With a wealth of unique instruments, musical toys and visual props at their disposal, the quintet explores the history and evolution of music, sound, and improvisation, drawing from such varied styles as blues, Dixieland, gospel, funk, be-bop and indigenous African music for this masterful performance. Apart from demonstrating their command of numerous musical genres, the band displays extraordinary chemistry, sensitivity and communication - with each member quick to respond to the other's slightest move. Although the quintet was composed of top-flight musicians, the band focused more on creating a composite sound than on the merits of its individual members. The result was a cohesive unit whose whole was greater than the sum of its parts.