Wadada Leo Smith, Douglas R. Ewart & Mike Reed

Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light

Astral Spirits • 2022

The bassoon plays a rather insignificant role in jazz. This is not so much the fault of the instrument itself, so why is it the case? The reedy sound is hardly the reason; clarinets are, after all, quite common in jazz. And the multi-instrumentalist Douglas R. Ewart plays both, plus saxophone, flute and didgeridoo, most of it also on his collaborative album with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Mike Reed, all three strongly connected to Chicago in different ways. Their trio provides plenty of space for horizontal movement, since neither the traditional line-up with bass as the foundation or piano for vertical harmony structuring are present. The musicians, closely associated with the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) use their flexible constellation for exploring open forms, their approach suggesting a combination of the composed and the improvised. It would be a lie to claim that the passages can be clearly categorised as such. Concentration remains high throughout, and their highly individual styles do not preclude collective gestures. To put it somewhat pompously, individual freedoms combine with them to form something greater, which does not, however, exclude puns like that of »Sun Beans«. And you only notice the fact that the recording was made live way back in 2015 when you hear the applause at the end.