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  • Archives
     

    Hemphill, Julius Sextet – “At Dr. King’s Table” – [New World Records]

    Recorded in 1997, roughly two years after Julius Hemphill’s death
    this sextet is led by Marty Ehrlich apparently all of the compositions
    were never recorded before. Several were to serve as choreography for
    “Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land” it is interesting
    I thought many of the pieces would make a soundtrack to a film,
    the firm structure of the “saxophone chorales” (Hemphill founded
    the World Saxophone Quartet) having that nice moody power in numbers
    to make any voice over flex with more dignified power. The dance
    pieces are #2, #7 and #14-16. “Holy Rockers” (#2) shows a lot of
    compositional range, an almost mournful open, some fires rise
    while a baritone boogie digs in and the high end hits square
    skyscraping harmonies. The album drips with structure harmonies
    in that sort of European tidiness, but more than a few blues
    bursts. “Bumpkin” moves from a St. Louis blues bbq into some high
    rise penthouse jazz. “Fixation” has one ear to the symphony, but
    another to a popular song, similarly “Ink” kept reminding me of
    some old phrase (is it “the woman’s a no good”). “The Children’s
    Song” (two versions) has a cry-yer-heart-out quality. My
    favorite was probably “Void” where it swings side-to-side and
    then up-and-down before turning the soloists loose for the most
    free piece here. We’re fortunate at KFJC to have a lot Hemphill’s
    other related releases (Dogon A.D. is doggone good!). Long may
    his music live on.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on March 6, 2014 at 10:10 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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