Monday, July 30, 2012

Andrew Lamb, Rhapsody in Black

The new Andrew Lamb album Rhapsody in Black (No Business NBCD 40) pairs Lamb's saxes, flute, clarinet and conch with bass, tuba and dijeridoo by Tom Abbs and the two drummer/percussionists Michael Wimberly and Guillermo E. Brown.

The wealth of color/tonal possibilities built into this lineup is well realized in a freely rolling four-number set. Throughout Lamb shows us he has his own way with each of the instruments and the band does a fine job supporting and contributing to the complex mix.

There's a ritual feeling on "Initiation" that devolves into a good dialogue between Andrews clarinet, the swirling percussion-drums and Abb's boomingly zoned-in bass.

"Rhapsody in Black" begins with some sensitive and smart drums-bass free preluding. Maestro Lamb lets loose with some red-white heat on tenor that maps out a universe of sounds and exhortations--Lamb's sax work at it's best. Abbs solar-flaring tuba and the dynamic Wimberly-Brown free-teaming keep the fires burning.

"To Love in the Rain (Portrait of a Virtuous Woman)" has up-tempo walking, quietly swinging-free drums and Andrew coming out with some flute & conch ritualism with didjeredoo (overdubbed?). It's a contrast interlude that brings us down to earth after the fire of "Rhapsody" and so it comes at the right time.

"Song of the Miracle Lives" gives us a invocation kind of beginning with Andrew on solo alto, bass and percussion quietly entering underneath. The band builds nicely to some high energy onslaughts while keeping into the invocation mode.

So there it is: excellent sounding Lamb saxophonics and the potent bass/tuba drums/percussion lineup.

If you don't know Lamb's work, this is a good place to start. If you already do, this adds some ritual-earthy-cosmic zones to what you know. And the band is on it.

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