Personnel: Raphe Malik (trumpet); Glenn Spearman (tenor saxophone); William Parker , William Parker (double bass).
Audio Mixer: Alen Hadzi-Stefanov.
Recording information: Orensanz Art Center, New York, NY (05/25/1998).
Photographer: Michael Wilderman.
What a total joy! Recorded live at the annual Vision Festival in New York in 1998, and billed as "The Final Malik-Spearman Concert," the four pieces offer a solid sense of the excitement, synergy, and jubilance generated by this piano-less quartet. Although the recording time is short (less than 42 minutes), the quality sound and exquisite musicianship easily compensate. Both Raphe Malik and Glenn Spearman are in great form, with the venerable William Parker and power drummer Paul Murphy splendid in support. The four tunes, all penned by Malik, might remind the listener of updated variations of the early acoustic experiments of Ornette Coleman. The melodies resonate with the excitement of the moment, and the enthusiastic applause of the sophisticated audience tells it all. The trumpeter boasts a distinct style, a rough-edged, fat sound, coupled with a concept that absorbs the innovations of Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford, yet retains its own originality. When joined with his musical blood brother, the late Glenn Spearman, the trumpeter creates harmonies that open the heavens. The modest horns eschew grandstanding, instead opting for simple melodies, emotionally direct improvisations, and tight harmonies. Clipped phrases and raw, immediate musical statements make this one a classic performance. ~ Steven Loewy