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Before There Was Sound


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Audio CD, October 18, 2011
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 18, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nessa Records
  • ASIN: B005G82LQC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Never released before! Before There Was Sound, the landmark debut album for Chicago's AACM recorded by Roscoe Mitchell for Delmark in the fall of 1966, there was a changing roster of Mitchell ensembles. The Mitchell Quartet recorded the present sessions approximately a year before Sound - no one remembers the exact date, only that it was probably late summer - early fall. Whatever the exact date, this album presents the earliest recordings available of the work of the AACM, probably taped shortly after the first meeting of the organization in May 1965. Members of the quartet include Fred Berry - trumpet, Malachi Favors - bass and Alvin Fielder - drums. Compositions include 5 Mitchell originals and one each by Fred Berry and Malachi Favors.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Crompton on October 21, 2011
This is one of those "Dead Sea Scrolls" discoveries that show up in the jazz world every once in a while; it's an extremely important and interesting issue - and if you don't care about that sort of thing, it's excellent music, too. Mitchell's music at this point was very much inspired by Ornette Coleman's innovations, but the music on this album resembles Coleman's only superficially. Mitchell has already found his own voice; his playing is passionate and vocalized. At times ("Outer Space," for instance) you can hear him taking tentative steps toward the more abstract sound-world of Sound (Delmark) and Old/Quartet (Nessa).

The rest of Mitchell's quartet performs admirably; they sound fully tuned in to Mitchell's vision. Bassist Malachi Favors, of course, had a long association with Mitchell in the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Drummer Alvin Fielder appeared on Sound and was an active member of the AACM in Chicago until he returned to Mississippi in 1969. The surprise here is Fred Berry's trumpet. Berry was an active big band musician, but he handles the free-jazz melodies and improvisations of the Mitchell Quartet with aplomb, even if his playing is a little more anonymous that Mitchell's.

If you have any interest at all in Roscoe Mitchell, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, or free jazz, you need this CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Keith on July 18, 2012
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So, I have been a fan of Mr. Mitchell for a long time, especially during his Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC) days. This was created around the time the AEC was still formulating, and the revelation for me is the trumpet of Mr. Fred Berry. Just amazing solos and playing! Love Mr. Mitchell's alto, too. And surely Mr. Malachi Favors Maghostut was one of the greatest bassists of all time! There is a strong Ornette Coleman/Don Cherry influence here, but the melodious writing is in a category by itself! Love this music!
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