Review

The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

Le-Le

Jazz Room • 2021

In the Philadelphia jazz scene, bassist Warren Oree has been a driving force for decades, as a musician, as a composer, as an organiser. The self-taught bassist has been the leader of the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble since 1979 and still is today; yet in more than three decades, no more than two albums have been released by Oree’s band. »Le-Le« is their debut. Released in 1987, their interpretation of soul-jazz with African and oriental touches is on the cusp of the era of acid-jazz and mojo compilations; the subtropical shimmering sound colour temperature also springs in part from the tendency towards opulence in the line-up: With two saxophones (Lamont King, Steve Murphy), in addition to drums (Greg Jones) also vibraphone (Bill Lewis) and percussion (Ed Watkins), furthermore with Sherry Butler a singer – and Warren Orees many many miles of walking bass. The rhapsodic title track and »Wet Walnuts and Whipped Cream« in particular have survived the test of time relatively unscathed and should still look good at many a rare-groove dancefloor jazz party. The extent to which the ensemble’s sound aesthetic also works to be heard as a continuation of the world music tradition of spiritual jazz is evident in many places, but most obviously in »The Infidels«.