Produced by Michael Marcus. Executive producer: Marek Winiarski / Not Two Records. Recorded at Alchemia, Krakow, Poland on October 2 (studio) and October 3 (live), 2006. Recorded by Michal Rosicki (MAQ Studio). Edited and mastered by Eric Enjem N.Y.C. December 2007. Photos by Krzysztof Penarski. Cover design by Andrzej Wojnowski.
Tracklist: 1. Free Within The Law [06:00] 2. Afro Funk [10:24] 3. Janet’s Moods [07:30] 4. May-Lee-High-Young (Beautiful Ocean) [09:19] 5. Morning Daffodil (live) [10:34] 6. Ginger Root (live) [01:01] 7. The Polish Rally (live) [05:00]
Michael Marcus | Photo by Krzysztof Penarski
The Cosmosamatics are coming to town!
We’re coming at you, gang!” I hang up the phone. I wonder how gray life would be if I didn’t get that kind of news every fall. October 2004,2005, 2006… Sonny, Michael and whatever exciting rhythm section they work with have a gig at the Sunside Paris, France, then head to Poland, to the UK, to Portugal, to Austria, to Scandinavia… To many a European fan, it’s more than another gig to attend: it’s waiting for one of your best friends to come back to visit – The Cosmosamatics!. They are the road group par excellence, the “Road Doggs”, Marcus says. It’s not only about music, it’s about a lifestyle.
Magic words: festivals, backstage, : clubs, crowds, cheers, the breaks between the sets, hanging around the bar to discuss the news as if a year hadn’t elapsed, this is the jazz evening you’ve been dreaming about. You need not a show at some big concert hall with a tuxedo to bawl at “jazz as an artform”. The Cosmosamatics are for your guts. The warmth of their music matches their attitude: Michael defines it as “New York energy”; Sonny as “love energy”. Levels and degrees of energy, rather than “levels and degrees of light”: where most groups in the free jazz canon toy with the shadow/light contrast, brooding , solemnity vs. exuberance and faster-than-your-life aggressivity, the Cosmosamatics are interested in the texture, the mellow and the hard, a manly expression of the ups (Marcus’ delicate ballads and melodies) and the downs (Simmons’ intricate anthems, e.g., “Janet’s Moods”). Not much has been said about Michael Marcus’ writing. It certainly is a shame, for he is a very distinctive voice today; and yet this album, unlike the previous ones, features more Simmons tunes, Marcus’ personality is still a defining element of “Free Within The Law”.
Under his influence, Sonny’s themes give way to simple patterns and vamps on which both soloists can oh so brilliantly stretch, rather than to his usual elaborate developments. The reverse is true: where Marcus in solo privileges arrangement, Sonny takes his ideas and strips them down, adding his own urgency. Opposite psychological forces at work, from the start, always made the Cosmosamatics a laboratory rather than your average combo: everything can happen, and the frequent inclusion of fresh new personalities in the I mix (here, two legends in their own ways: Art Lewis, the driving force behind Andrew Hill’s legendary recording “Invitation”, and Peter Herbert, a new voice on bass from Austria ) is a creative challenge , for the two leaders everytime. This is their third album for the colorful polish company, a tribute to the “Eastern Block’s” appreciation and understanding of their music and, let it be said, the real Cosmosamatics are preserved on Not Two. “Free Within The Law”, rather than Prisoners of Chaos. — Julien Palomo, HW! webmaster, November2007 Paris
Sonny Simmons | Photo by Krzysztof Penarski
Free within the Law
comes courtesy of the Cosmosamatics, the long-term aggregate co-led by Marcus with veteran pioneer and improviser Sonny Simmons. From the first moments of the title track, seemingly boundless New Thing energy is the order of the day, the rough edges even informing the softer-grained textures and luscious clarinet and English horn counterpoint of “Afro Funk”. Uhr-blues pervades the sinewy swing of “May-Lee-High-Young” as its frontline horn dissonances charge their exuberant but reflective way forward. Simmons is in especially fine form here, each utterance and gesture a testament to his rhythmic versatility and dynamic control. Despite these levels of introspection, the energy is ramped back up during the concert portion of the disc, bassist Peter Herbert and drummer Art Lewis providing scorching support on the freneticism of “The Polish Rally,” bringing the disc to a highly charged conclusion. — Marc Medwin, All About Jazz
CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)
MP3 version (71.51MB zip download)