KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Julius Hemphill “One Atmosphere” [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   1/29/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Elegant austere treatments of Hemphill compositions. All
recent realizations of pieces. Tense start w/ suspicious
strings and inquisitive piano, a lot of pressure for
“One Atmosphere.” Next “Savannah Suite” has percussion
unlike the other pieces here; Pheeroan Aklaff’s rattling
and rolling and hi-hat/cymbal riding hit the spot. That’s
the most this release swings…everything else is stately
and cerebral. It is nice how the Marty Erhlich’s playful
flute on “Savannah” hands the torch over to the more
somber flutes that commence “Water Music”. The second
suite section with its array of horns recalls the World
Sax Quartet (founded by Hemphill) and is reminscent of
ROVA too. By the third section, a thick driving groove
of saxes marches in beneath a return of the flutes, and
rides that rhythm till its squeak and flutter finish.
The “Backwater” closing has a last call boozy flavor
though still poured into a crystal champagne glass.
Hail Julius, RIP April 2nd 1995.

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