Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Michael Philip Mossman - The Orisha Suite

Trumpet master Michael Philip Mossman has extended himself on this outing, reaching out into all of the various places he has visited in his jazz career in the vanguard with Anthony Braxton, in the hard bop university with Art Blakey, and in his long association with the Latin jazz world where he has studied with Machito, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrill, Daniel Ponce, Mario Bauza, Michel Camilo, and Ray Barretto. He has brought all of this to bear on a work that is at once ambitious, wonderfully expansive, exotic, and thoroughly accessible. The Orisha Suite is a call from the modern to the ancient to the unknown. It seeks to express a musical longing that can only be answered by more questions and mysteries. The band assembled on this gorgeously lush Afro-Cuban exercise is tasteful, innovative, and literally mind-blowing; composing, arranging, and chops are all stellar as Paquito D'Rivera, Barretto, Patato Valdes, Arturo O'Farrill, Todd Williams, John Benítez, and Adam Rogers log in to realize Mossman's tour de force. The compositions on The Orisha Suite are varied by all in the sense that they reflect different sides of the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz experience, philosophically, rhythmically, and dynamically. The arrangements are tight, punchy, and full of dreamy escapes into harmony and polyrhythmic complexities. But given that these works are so precisely composed, the spaces for solos and improvisations are even more profound -- check out Mossman's trumpet break at the end of "The Mountain at the Edge of Time." The loping front-line harmony on "The Lepered Lover," fraught with contrapuntal accents, is romantic and edgy. Likewise, the clean hard bop statements from the front line on "The Lord of Thunder," with it's funky backbeats, Cuban twists, and elongated soloing, are delightfully savvy. The smoking, funk-driven "Iron and Blood," with its son feel, salsa and rhumba time signatures, and knotty ensemble engagement before Williams' solo, is nothing short of breathtaking. This is an album that deserves to be at the forefront of the new jazz revolution. It is the finest moment of Mossman's career -- and for a composer and New York edge trumpet player, that's saying plenty. This is a necessary addition to the collection of any serious jazz fan, and a welcome, accessible, and phenomenally executed example of the genre in the modern day for anyone curious enough to check it out. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Michael Philip Mossman
Album: The Orisha Suite
Year: 2000
Label: Connector Music
Runtime: 63:45

1.  Mambanita 6:49
2.  The Mountain at the Edge of Time 5:50
3.  Divine Hunter 5:20
4.  The Lepered Lover 6:26
5.  In the Land of Ile' Ife' 6:20
6.  Copper...Then Gold 6:49
7.  The Lord of Thunder 7:52
8.  The Moon and the Sea 5:54
9.  Iron and Blood 6:13
10.  The Guardian of the Crossroad 6:12
All compositions by Michael Philip Mossman  

Michael Philip Mossman (Trumpet)
Todd Williams (Tenor Saxophone, Flute)
Arturo O'Farrill (Piano, Organ)
Adam Rogers (Guitar)
John Benitez (Double Bass)
Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (Drums)
Joe Gonzalez (Congas, Guiro)
Paquito D'Rivera (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet) - 1,5,10
Carlos "Patato" Valdes (Congas) - 2,5
Ray Barreto (Congas) - 3-6



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