Melodic Art-Tet - Melodic Art-Tet
- Stewart Smith
- 11 July 2013
Lithuanian Jazz record label's masterful re-issue of 1970's radio session is a gem
No Business have done a masterful job of documenting free jazz’s vital, but often neglected Loft Movement, and this 1974 radio session is a real find, allowing a remarkable group to finally be heard. Formed by saxophonist Charles Brackeen, fresh from his debut album Rhythm X and Sun Ra Arkestra drummer Roger Blank, the Melodic Art-Tet was conceived, according to trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, as 'an instrumental approach striving to embrace communication among the good angels in humanity'. Brackeen provides some striking melodic themes, which form the basis for collective improvisations. 'Before Heaven and Earth …' marches in like Albert Ayler's Village Vanguard quartet, before the musicians wander off in crab-like improv moves, eventually surfacing somewhere between Africa and Saturn, as the melody is reworked into Sun Ra exotica. Blank is hugely engaging throughout, laying swinging tom grooves under Brackeen and Abdullah's spiralling exchanges and the young William Parker's urgent bowed bass.