Roscoe Mitchell & The Note Factory - Far Side (3 stars)

Art Ensemble of Chicago founder delves into constantly shifting densities of sound

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Roscoe Mitchell & The Note Factory - Far Side

(ECM Records)

Best known as founder of the still active Art Ensemble of Chicago, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell has been a key figure at the more adventurous end of the American jazz spectrum for over four decades. His music delves into constantly shifting densities of sound, with interweaving instrumental textures and rhythmic freedom replacing jazz’s traditional solo-and-accompaniment and swing structures.

He formed The Note Factory octet a decade ago and its line-up includes key younger players such as trumpeter Corey Wilkes and pianists Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer. ‘Far Side’, the opening 30-minutes on this live set from Germany in 2007, begins in subliminally quiet fashion, fluctuating though rising levels of intensity to a fierce climax. Three shorter pieces explore similarly challenging territory in compelling fashion, the occasional longeurs aside.

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