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Roscoe Mitchell: After Fallen Leaves

Album Reviews:

Village Voice (2/2/93, p.78) - "...characteristically robust, lyrical, and patently uncategorizable in a recital that shifts direction on every track and is almost always compelling..."

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Roscoe Mitchell; Arne Forsen (piano); Ulf Akerheilm (bass); Gilbert Matthews (percussion).

In this one-shot session, Mitchell teams with a Swedish trio (which included South African native Gilbert Matthews on drums) for renditions of nine of his own compositions. They begin with "Sing," a delightful number originally recorded for his outstanding album on Nessa, Snerdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes. This performance, while less inspiredly funky than the first, has an interesting feel to it, with pianist Arne Forsen bringing in an approach reminiscent of Bobo Stenson's playing -- not your typical Roscoe Mitchell accompanist. Much of the rest of the disc sounds a bit too much like what, in fact, it is: Mitchell with a pickup trio. It's not that they're unsympathetic to his vision; they indeed seem to be big fans. But they contribute little special that you might have gotten with, say, a Muhal Richard Abrams/Malachi Favors/Steve McCall trio. Mitchell's playing itself is fine, and he elaborates on several of the musical ideas with which he was preoccupied in the late '80s: long swirls of circular breathing on the soprano, pointillistic attacks in sparse sonic structures, and delicate, shakuhachi-influenced sound poems. The more abstract pieces especially could have benefited from a more sensitive rhythm section. After Fallen Leaves isn't a bad album and it's always worth hearing Mitchell, but he has more than a dozen recordings under his name that should be heard first. ~ Brian Olewnick


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