Ernest Dawkins: soprano, alto & tenor saxophones | Harrison Bankhead: double bass, cello | Hamid Drake: drums, frame drum
Recorded live on August 11th and 12th 2008 by Sal Vito at Velvet Lounge, Chicago, IL, USA. Mixing: Sal Vito. Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet, L’Autre Studio, Vaires-sur-Marne, France. Liner notes: Steve Dalachinsky. Photographs: Michael Jackson. Cover design: Max Schoendorff. Cover realization: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon
Tracklist CD ONE: 1. Astral Projection (12:53) 2. Sweet 22nd Street (The Velvet Lounge) (12:10) 3. You Just Cross My Mind (8:26) 4. The Rumble (6:11) 5. Peace and Blessing (to Fred) (9:21) 6. Down n’ the Delta (7:40) Tracklist CD TWO:1. Jah Music (9:54) 2. Galaxies Beyond (5:47) 3. Woman of Darfur (10:00) 4. Waltz of Passion (8:56) 5. Moi Tre Gran Garcon (17:44) 6. One for Fred (17:19)
All compositions by Ernest Dawkins, Harrison Bankhead, Hamid Drake
Chicago Trio: Ernest Dawkins, Harrison Bankhead, Hamid Drake (from left to right) | Photo by Michael Jackson
This 2 cd set recorded live at the Velvet Lounge
a year before the legendary Fred Anderson passed away, is a fitting tribute by 3 Chicagoans to one of their own, the master tenor player, teacher, Velvet Lounge owner, advocate and AACM member, who has helped foster the musical scene in that city possibly more than anyone else. This artistic outing is a pilgrimage in sound taking us into the deepest recesses of this eclectic medium known as “jazz”. These pieces conceived/composed by the 3 reflect all phases of their erudite abilities, their singular as well as collective approaches to the music both compositionally and improvisational while specifically highlighting Dawkins’ virtuosity as a player and showing the masterful abilities of Bankhead and Drake as well. The music crosses barriers displaying every conceivable aspect of the “jazz” language with an almost religious zeal. — Steve Dalachinsky, excerpts from the liner notes
The Chicago Trio
is Ernest Dawkins on sax, Harrison Bankhead on bass and cello, and Hamid Drake on drums and frame drum. The double CD presents a live gig performed a year before Fred Anderson passed away, yet even then, the performance was already a tribute to him. Both Bankhead and Drake played a lot with the legendary Chicagoan and owner of the Velvet Lounge, and although Dawkins and Anderson also performed together, to my knowledge none of that is available on record.
In any event, this album is really excellent: a deep dive into jazz history by one of the best sax trios you can find, with Drake offering all kinds of rhythmic playfulness, ranging from a funky “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” with Dawkins on two saxes, reggae on “Jah Music”, to weird modern work-outs on “Galaxies Beyond”. As I told Drake once, his playing sounds like dancing in paradise, and that’s also the case on this album. Bankhead is phenomenal too, also on cello on what is possibly the best track of the album, the long “Moi Trè Gran Garçon”. The precision of his tone, including bowed, is fantastic, as are his improvisations.
Dawkins is an ensemble man, and it must be said that he give the trio lots of space, yet he is a great front man, very lyrical and melodic, also in his improvisations, with jazz and blues tradition never far away, yet sufficiently free in his approach to make this album an easy one to recommend for readers of this blog, moving listeners from joy to sadness to spirituality to world empathy and back. The kind of free jazz Baba Fred Anderson would have enjoyed. A great tribute to a great musician. — Stef
Double CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)