Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A New One From Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet

I've come to expect very good things from Marty Ehrlich. He takes care formulating the approach each of his ensembles puts across, and they stand out for composition, interplay and individual soloists. His Rites Quartet is an excellent example. The recent Things Have Got to Change (Clean Feed) CD bears this out.

Marty sets this group up partly to pay tribute to the memory of Julius Hemphill and his wonderful music. Around half the pieces on the disk are by Julius, including a very nice rendition of "Dogon AD;" the other half are Ehrlich originals.

Erik Friedlander here plays cello somewhat in the manner of Abdul Wadud, Hemphill's bandmate of note. Erik's funky pizzicato has lots of soul, clearly giving himself over to the Wadud's way of musical thinking. I don't believe I've ever heard Eric sound quite this rootsy. Of course he is untouchable as a flowingly moving arco player and that side shows up on this disk as well. He adds much to the session. Pheeroan Aklaff drives the group in his irrepressibly vigorous manner. Trumpet man James Zollar has imagination and pluck and works well in the front line as a contrasting voice to the always interesting Ehrlich on alto.

Things Have Got to Change falls together as vitally communicative music from the first cut to the last. Highly recommended.

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