trumpet; Antonio Hart, alto sax & flute; Kelly Roberge, tenor sax,
clarinet, bass clarinet; Leon Lee Dorsey, bass; Bill Hart & Jason
Brown, drums) — Umoja 6-57677-00512-0, 56:50 ****:
Yet another chamber jazz excursion; what a nice turn of events.
All nine compositions are by Ezra Weiss and he’s assembled some great
sidemen to join him. The entire story of Persephone is printed in
the insert, taken from a book on mythology. The tunes roughly
follow Persehone’s story. They start generally rather dissonant
and become more tonal as the album progresses. The title track is
totally gorgeous. Those in the second half of the album reminded me
strongly of Johnny Richards’ Annotations of the Muses from the 1950s,
which was one of my chamber jazz favorites of the time. Both
drummers (who alternate tracks) are more than just time-keepers, and
they ensure that Weiss’ compositions have that element of strong swing
that eludes some classical/jazz mix efforts. Sonics are also first rate.
Tracks: Lord Give Me Wings, Rise and Fall, Family Song, Winter Machine,
The Dancer, Capricorn, Persephone, Laugh at Yourself, Spring.
– John Sunier