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*** 1/2 ROSCOE MITCHELL AND THE NOTE FACTORY, "Nine to Get Ready," ECM

May 23, 1999|BILL KOHLHAASE

Art Ensemble of Chicago saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell has cut a number of fine albums under his own name in the last three decades, notably the standout solo-duo-combo date "Nonaah" and the free-for-all "Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes" (both on Nessa). This nine-piece ensemble date, with double bass, double drums and double pianos, is the most composed and rewarding of the bunch, stirring slowly with the impressionistic "Leola," taking a graceful turn with "For Lester B," then hitting full stride with the echoing theme of "Hop Hip Bip Bir Rip." Mitchell's soprano, alto, tenor and flute all concentrate on drama, especially when weighed against the boisterous trombone of George Lewis. Some listeners will find the grungy "Big Red Peaches" at the end of the recording a come-down after the thoughtfulness of the preceding numbers, but its outrageousness serves to reveal the saxophonist's multi-sided personality.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).

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