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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jamaaladeen Tacuma: For the Love of Ornette

This is one of the best jazz recordings of the year: Ornette Coleman's old Prime Time bassist playing again with the master himself in a large-ish ensemble that runs like free clockwork.

Jamaaladeen Tacuma has an original style on electric bass—funky and free but also supremely melodic and searching. Much like Ornette, with whom he first gigged when he was 19. Now they are much more equal footing. Most of the tunes are Tacuma's and the band is excellent: Coleman’s alto sax is joined by two other woodwinds in tenor saxophonist Tony Kofi and Wolfgang Puschnig’s flute and with Tacuma in the rhythm section are pianist Yoichi Uzeki, Justin Faulkner on drums and David Haynes on “finger drums”.

Check out my full PopMatters review of Jamaaladeen Tacuma: For the Love of Ornette right HERE.

Because Puschnig’s flute sounds distinctive on this kind of record, it’s worth noting that this particular tonal pleasure is reminiscent of the great Lenox Avenue Breakdown record by Arthur Blythe from 1979, where James Newton rode over a similarly funky ensemble. For the Love of Ornette, however, is a more probing set of performances, with a richer set of competing soloists. Breakdown was one of the very best jazz recordings of the late ‘70s, which means For the Love of Ornette must be one of my favorite recordings of 2011 so far.

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