Arthur Blythe: For Fats


For Fats


Arthur Blythe (alto sax)


Bush Baby (Adelphi AD 5008)


Arthur Blythe (alto sax), Bob Stewart (tuba),

Ahkmed Abdullah, conga


Composed by Arthur Blythe


Recorded: New York, December 1977


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Arthur Blythe's barebones sax/tuba/conga trio approaches "For Fats" almost as if they were a conventional sax/bass/drums free jazz group. Tubaist Bob Stewart plays a composed ostinato under the head, then mixes in an interactive walking bassline during Blythe's solo. He maintains the pulse throughout, regardless of how far afield the improvisation gets, much in the same way that a bassist such as Fred Hopkins or Malachi Favors might. Ahkmed Abdullah doesn't have a ride cymbal or hi-hat to reinforce the groove, but keeps the polyrhythms flowing on conga, his lines inventively intertwined with Stewart's. Blythe burns over the rhythm section, biting off long phrases with cocky self-assuredness. A palpable silence behind the group serves almost as another band member—framing the performance, providing a buffer that allows every gesture to be heard and absorbed. Blythe didn't pursue this direction for long, but it was great while it lasted.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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