Oluyemi Thomas | Kenn Thomas | Eugene Wilson IV | Howard Byrdsong | Nigeria | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2006 | MW 771-2 | CD

Oluyemi Thomas – bass clarinet, musette, bell, voice | Kenn Thomas – piano, electric piano | Eugene Wilson IV – electric bass | Howard Byrdsong – drums

Special gratitude unto the Creator of the Arts. Recorded 8 September 2001 at Solid Studio, Ann Arbor, Mi. Recording Engineers: Will Spence, P.D. Mastered by: Karen Stackpole, Neil Yamagata 2/16/2003. Producers: Oluyemi Thomas, Kenn Thomas. Frotn photo: Abuja, Nigeria – Market Place by Oluyemi Thomas. Inside photos: Not Two archives.

Tracklist: 1. Nigeria (After Orie & Benjamin) [15:01] 2. Conversation With Yourself [04:23] 3. Recreated By Fire [11:43] 4. Homeward Bound [01:23] 5. Byrd Song [02:50] 6. Life Long Journey [02:54] 7. Prayer [02:53] 8. Silently Speaking [03:49] 9. The Other Side Of Self [11:35]

Oluyemi Thomas | Eugene Wilson IV | Howard Byrdsong | Kenn Thomas


by the recent strong releases on the Polish Not Two label, I took a deeper look in their catalogue and came across this album, led by Oluyemi Thomas on bass clarinet and musette, with Kenn Thomas on piano and synthesizer, Eugene Wilson IV on fretless electric bass and Howard Byrdsong on drums. And this record is unusual, if only because it’s rare to find free jazz albums with both synthesizer and fretless bass. OK, David S. Ware has done experiments with synth and so did Joe McPhee, but the use here is more sparse, more functional, less intrusive. The album is a kind of suite, without pauses between the tracks, reinforcing the very strong musical unity, and an incredible raw poetic power. From the very beginning the four musicians are into the music, led by drums and piano, with the screeching, howling cries of the bass clarinet soaring through the space, evolving into a very intense and more uptempo moment, just to calm down again and to soften on the tones of the synthesizer, which often acts as the glue between new themes, and – strangely enough – creates a soft warmth throughout. Two long tracks begin and end the CD, with in between some shorter pieces on which each musician gets his solo moment, breaking down the music to its four bare constituents, and each doing a great job with the received time. The last track “The Other Side Of Self”, continues in the more subdued, meditative style of the solo pieces, but quickly gains in intensity, counter rhythms while the shrill sounds of the musette tear the peace to pieces, yet ending the whole again in a more meditative duo of piano and drums. Thomas is not an absolute top clarinet-player, but he is extremely expressive, as is his music. Raw poetic power, I can’t find any other words for it.– (freejazz-stef.blogspot.com)



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