Julius Hemphill: Reflections
Julius Hemphill (alto sax)
'Coon Bid'ness (Arista-Freedom 1012)
Daniel Ben Zebulon (congas).
Composed by Julius Hemphill.
Recorded: New York, January 29, 1975
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
"Reflections" is the opening track and the first of four movements that make-up 'Coon Bid'ness, the intentionally caustic and co-optive title the late Julius Hemphill gave both the composition and his classic 1975 album on the Arista-Freedom label. The brief, chorale-like track features Hemphill's characteristic close voicings, dissonant harmonies, and rubato rhythms. Written for two altos, cello, and bari sax, it presages much of his later writing for the World Saxophone Quartet. It's somewhat rougher in execution but every bit as lyrically beautiful as his later work. "Reflections" doesn't necessarily stand-up well by itself, but it's not meant to. As an introduction to what is, in its four-part entirety, an inspired blending of gritty jazz and esoteric compositional concepts, it succeeds fully.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey