***** review by Nic Jones in Jazz Journal (November 2015)

This concert pulled from the archives would be made poignant by Ornette Coleman’s recent death if it wasn’t for the fact that the music has a vibrant life of its own. That said, there’s a small measure of overlap between Coleman at his freest and this music, but that’s greatly overshadowed by its individuality.
Some of that overlap is geographical, for this group’s music is profoundly “underground”, at least in the Californian context, as per the opening Love’s Dream, a demanding Bradford composition which the band utilises to make the stage levitate. Carter on soprano sax, a horn he was to give up playing along with a number of others in favour of the clarinet, is heated, and in so being only goes to show how
individual his musical conception was to become.
By contrast Carter’s Circle is initially more reflective, yet it’s still shot through with that primacy of the moment attitude which is a mark of the free and near-free schools. Carter takes the introduction entirely solo before Bradford takes over and eventually the collective mastery of tension and release holds sway.
The end-of-year list surely beckons for this one.

 

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