Roscoe Mitchell & The Sound Ensemble: Reverend Frank Wright
Reverend Frank Wright
Roscoe Mitchell & The Sound Ensemble
Live at the Knitting Factory
Composed by Roscoe Mitchell.
Recorded: New York, November 11, 1987
Rating: 80/100 (learn more)
Frank Wright was an unalloyed free jazz tenor saxophonist, an Ayler-esque energy player active from the 1960s until his death in 1990. On this recorded tribute, Roscoe Mitchell transfers Wright's/Ayler's overblown tenor aesthetic to the bari sax. The results are essentially the same on bari as tenor—a wash of undifferentiated saxophonic distortion, played with maximum exertion and minimum subtlety. Mitchell's band mates join in the fun, playing as hard and fast as the leader. In the track's first moments, Tani Tabbal's dextrous drum work grabs the ear, as does Spencer Barefield's mercurial guitar, before Mitchell enters and all hell breaks loose. Mitchell is a great musician, yet this music makes little use of the more chimerical qualities that define his greatness. For the musicians (and to some listeners, particularly members of the live audience) this type of cathartic yawp has its merits. But it isn't something I'd come back to.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey