Limited slipcase containing three CDs in miniature LP sleeves and a 36 page booklet containing lyrics, commentaries and exclusive photographs of the Radio Cineola project. The the.s busy 2017 gathers pace with the announcement of the Radio Cineola: Trilogy box set. The three albums are based upon 12- or 24-hour time-cycles and as interlinked as Borromean rings…
Musillami's band gets bigger with each installment of his Playscape trilogy. On part three, Groove Teacher, the ensemble grows to a septet with the inclusion of tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore. Trumpeter Claudio Roditi replaces Randy Brecker from the previous album, Mar's Bars; bassist Charles (Chip) Jackson also comes on board for the first time. The four who have remained steady throughout are guitarist Musillami, pianist Kent Hewitt, drummer Steve Johns, and alto saxophonist/flutist Thomas Chapin. Hewitt and Chapin are particularly brilliant on this record, having had ample opportunity to absorb Musillami's concept as a composer and bandleader.
Let's put the hook in right from the jump: Echoes of Indiana Avenue is perhaps the most significant release of previously unissued material by a major jazz artist since the The Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall appeared in 2005. That's not hyperbole. These tapes, which consist of two live recordings and one studio demo, were cut, presumably, between 1957 and 1958, with various groupings of musicians, including his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as pianist Earl Van Riper and bassist Mingo Jones. All of the tunes here are now regarded as standards, but some were current then, freshly added in that era, such as Shorty Rogers' "Diablo's Dance," Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream," and perhaps most importantly, Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" and "Straight No Chaser."
Of course, members of the distinguished avant-garde sax quartet Rova and the raucous avant jazz trio Nels Cline Singers (in which nobody sings, in case you wonder) have intermingled before on a few occasions – the Ascension project being one. Still, to bring the two together (and their audiences) and to write a repertoire especially for this short-lived septet had to require some guts and determination. And it was effort well invested, since The Celestial Septet is a thrilling record, and one of Rova's most artistically successful collaborations. Recorded in 2008 on two separate occasions, the CD features five works ranging between two and 25 minutes in duration. Strangely, both the shortest and longest piece are Larry Ochs compositions.