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Drawing on American creative music, Mbira music of Zimbabwe, and traditional Chinese music, trumpeter Leo Smith's ensemble with drummer Pheeroan akLaff and pipa player Min Xiao-Fen perform 5 extraordinary compositions of lyrical vision.

Smith's Mbira, Wadada Leo
Dark Lady Of The Sonnets

Smith's Mbira, Wadada Leo: Dark Lady Of The Sonnets (Tum)
Label: Tum    
Released in: Finland    

"Wadada Leo Smith's Mbira is an ensemble that works within the idiom of American creative music but also in the realms of the Mbira music of Shona culture in Zimbabwe and even traditional Chinese music. With pipa player Min Xiao-Fen and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, Wadada Leo Smith has produced an album that is powerful and instantly captivating, ancient and contemporary at the same time. Dark Lady of the Sonnets contains five compositions by Smith, ranging from a memorial for his late mother Sarah Bell Wallace to the title-track inspired by the great Billie Holiday."-Tum

"Put on a record by Wadada Leo Smith, and each time you will lifted up into a different dimension, out of your daily routine, not into the mindlessness of relaxation entertainment, but into a realm rich in soul and spirituality, whether it's his funky electric Miles tribute albums, the sound universe of complex mastership with his Golden Quartet music, or his meditative and bluesy duo albums.

Smith's incredible strength is to suck the listener into his music ... deeply ... He can create a sound that makes the listener think "yes, I feel this too, this is me, yet I never managed to express it", whether joy, or aesthetic beauty, or peaceful calm or restless tribal energy.

On this album his powerful and uplifting trumpet songs are accompanied by Pheeroan akLaff on drums and Min Xiao-Fen on the Chinese pippa.The voice of the latter instrument is weak compared to the percussion and the trumpet, but yet the excellent sound quality compensates for that, together with the space Smith gives his trio and the solid unity of musical vision among the three artists. On the title track, a tribute to Billie Holiday, the vulnerable fragility is almost palpable, and you can only admire the akLaff's restraint in working his drums, barely audible, yet adding the necessary drama to the singing of voice and trumpet.

There is not much to say about the music, you should listen to it.

As I wrote earlier somewhere about his music : cosmic, rooted in the earth and so deeply human. A rare combination. [...]"-Stef, Free Jazz Stef

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Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Smith, Leo
Cultural Musics from Around the World
Trio Recordings

Get additional information at Freejazz-Stef @ Blogspot

Search for other titles on the Tum label.

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Price: $17.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 6430015289239

Label: Tum
Catalog ID: 23
Squidco Product Code: 15631

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Finland
Packaging: Digipack with booklet
Recorded on January 24 and 25, 2007 by Esa Santonen at SoundTeam Godzinsky Studio, Kirkkonummi, Finland.


Wadada Leo Smith-trumpet, flugelhorn

Min Ziao-Fen-pipa, voice

Pheeroan akLaff-drums

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Track Listing:

1. Sarah Bell Wallace 11:55

2. Blues: Cosmic Beauty 10:33

3. Zulu Water Festival 6:33

4. Dark Lady Of The Sonnets 10:59

5. Mbira 16:12

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