Third Decade Import
Different visions of the band's roots and possibilities emerge in this 1984 recording. The piece "Funky AECO" is a populist delight, a funk riff driven along by Malachi Favors's electric bass and Don Moye's precisely idiomatic backbeat, then given a surreal push by the unlikely and elephantine sound of Roscoe Mitchell's bass saxophone, with sly inflections contributed by Lester Bowie's trumpet. Joseph Jarman's "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" is an utterly different pleasure, a haunting African-flavored tune that weds its open harmonies and repeating melody to subtle use of flutes and synthesizers. Another moment of great subtlety arises in Bowie's refined invocation of Miles Davis in "The Bell Thing." --Stuart Broomer
'jimbo' is intricate patterns of horns over delicate percussion that grows in intensity, 'funky' is what it says, a bassline that James Brown would have been proud of, but with clever interplay of horns crying on top. 'walking' could almost be a pop song featuring a lovely tenor solo. The bells is free improvisation coming up out of a primeval bass noise. the next one is pure hard-bop that wouldn't be out of place on an Art Blakey album.
But whatever style they play the interplay between the horns keeps you on the edge of your seat and it's all underpinned by one of the best and most versatile rhythm units ever, not just the bass and drums (and every kind of percussion you can think of) but driving rhythms from bass saxophones and other horns too.
An interesting way to get a grip on the musics that AEC have drawn together throughout their career.