The Group - Live (5 stars)

Gloriously creative and soulful 1986 live recording from dream team of first generation free jazzers

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The Group - Live

(No Business)

A dream team of first generation free jazzers (altoist Marion Brown, bassist Sirone and drummer Andrew Cyrille) and 1970s avant-gardists (violist Billy Bang, trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah and bassist Fred Hopkins), The Group left no studio recordings in their two years together, making this 1986 live recording the first evidence of their 'interdependence' concept.

Informed by the skewed abstractions of Ornette Coleman and the pluralism of the Loft era, The Group extend the language of post-bop jazz. A lengthy exploration of Mingus' immortal 'Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat' hears Brown and Abdullah caress the wistful melody over several solo verses, before Bang's gutsy live-wire fiddling pushes it all out. Brown's 'La Placita' sounds like a Mariachi Albert Ayler, its joyful refrain marching towards freedom, while Abdullah's open-ended arrangement of Miriam Makeba's 'Amanpondo' builds on the township jazz of Brotherhood of Breath. Tuneful, swinging and thrillingly inventive, this is gloriously creative and soulful music.

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