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File under: Aacm

Lester Bowie

The Complete Remastered Recordings On Black Saint & Soul Note

Label: CAM Jazz

Format: 3CD Box

Genre: Jazz

In stock


As Black Saint and Soul Note continue their boxed set "Complete Recordings Of" series in 2011, this volume by Lester Bowie is one of the most diverse. Containing three discs cut over a decade, it reflects the numerous dimensions in Bowie's musical persona, from fiery improviser to post-modern formalist and engaged ensemble member, and above all, his love for the entire jazz, blues, and gospel music traditions. The first disc in the collection is 1978's 5th Power. It's the only title here that showcases Bowie actually leading an ensemble under his own name. His session personnel for the date were saxophonist Arthur Blythe, pianist Amina Claudine Myers (who also sings on the rousing gospel-jazz of "God Has Smiled on Me"), bassist Malachi Favors, and drummer Philip Wilson. Other than the abstract, fragmented bop-meets-free jazz in the title track that closes the album, this is among Bowie's most accessible and exploratory small group recording. The other two sessions here date from the '80s, and feature Bowie in the sextet called the Leaders, in the company of Blythe on alto, Chico Freeman on tenor and soprano sax, Kirk Lightsey on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Don Moye on drums. The first of these, Out Here Like This, is comprised of seven middle-length pieces ranging from five to nearly eight minutes each. They move from the seamless, post-modal, vanguard jazz of "Zero" and the funky avant of "Luna" to the swinging blues of "Cool T." Unforseen Blessings, the second Leaders date, is made up of 13 tunes of widely varying lengths. Musically, it included the fingerpopping bop of "Hip Dripper," the Latin-tinged "Heaven Dance," and the lush balladry of "Lucia," with many stops along the way. Taken as a whole, these discs reflect Bowie as a musical shapeshifter in his compositions, arrangements, and his improvising; they reflect not only his deep knowledge of jazz history, but his unique and influential way of combining various elements of it to move the music further down the path. The remastered sound is pristine on these discs (oftentimes, the LP pressings of BS and SN titles were less than optimal), and the price is very seductive. (AMG)

File under: Aacm
Cat. number: BXS 1006
Year: 2015

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