Roscoe Mitchell – Bells For The Southside (5 stars)

Roscoe Mitchell – Bells For The Southside

The master sax player and composer pays tribute to Chicago

The master reedist and composer Roscoe Mitchell pays tribute to his home town of Chicago on this stunning double album. Featuring four trios 'contrasted and combined', Bells for the Southside runs the gamut of Mitchell's compositional interests, from pensive explorations of tonality and space, to uncanny electronic textures, and radical visions of jazz.

Percussion is the unifying element, from the sleigh bells that bring an element of dance to the ruminative piano clusters of 'Spatial Aspects of Sound', to the clattering roto-toms and timpani of 'Panoply'. Tyshawn Sorey plays Mitchell's percussion cage on the title track, illuminating a deep indigo backdrop of bowed bass and electronics, while Kikanju Baku goes gangbusters on the trap kit for the avant-jazz of 'Dancing in the Canyon'.

The epic 'Red Moon in the Sky/Odwalla' moves through electro-acoustic nocturnes and clamorous abstraction before sending us off with a warm jazz embrace. A work of genius.

Out now on ECM.

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