Rashied Ali Quintet - Judgment Day Vol. 2

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Survival SR. 122     ***
Ali (d), Lawrence Clark (ts), Jummaane Smith (t), Greg Murphy (p) and Joris
Teepe (b). Rec. New York, 2005
Rashied Ali Quintet - Judgment Day Vol. 2
Note the use of ‘Quintet. The word is invariably favoured by ensembles of a hard bop persuasion and those are indeed the colours that Ali nails to his mast on this session that may well surprise a few who would define the legendary drummer uniquely in the free jazz arena. Judgement Day is a rip-roaringly hard swinging album that has the kind of tricky gymnastic heads and charged solos that Blakey’s most aggressive line-ups all juggled so well. In the likes of Clark and Smith Ali has superb frontline players who can sustain intensity over countless choruses, pumping out swirling harmonic and rhythmic ideas with both fluency and forward drive. The momentum, the surge of the music is very strong. As for Teepe and the impressive Murphy they push their comping to high levels of creativity with the latter getting Pullenesque in his percussive attack on tonality. Ali is rhythm incarnate, a constantly shifting canvas of colours around the kit that perfectly complements his grip on time throughout the lengthy workouts and, as one would expect from a musician of his calibre, his touch is deft on the album’s ballads. A reprise of Don Cherry’s ‘Multi-Culti’ adds a pleasing twist to the choice of covers that also includes the standards ‘Lush Life’ and ‘Round Midnight’. Proof positive that Ali, as was seen at his recent stunning gig at the Pizza On The Park, is a complete musician, one who shows that mainstream vocabulary is not beyond the reach of a master of the avant-garde.

Kevin Le Gendre

This review is from Jazzwise Issue #113 to our full section and receive a Free CD Subscribe Here...