George Lewis Sequel (for Lester Bowie)

The latest album by AACM trombonist George Lewis is an electro-acoustic project featuring eight players from disparate backgrounds. Four American improvisers — Lewis, guitarist Jeff Parker, koto player Miya Masaoka and Guillermo E. Brown (drummer with David S. Ware’s quartet) — join forces with the UK live electronics improviser Kaffe Matthews, the Munich duo 48nord (Siegfried Rössert and Ulrich Müller, specialists in music for experimental radio plays), and the Afro-Arabic break beats of DJ Mutamassik. The four pieces — the half-hour composition "Sequel” and four shorter improvs — keep to a quiet surface texture, "flat” in the painterly sense. Across this discreet backdrop flit more momentous and fast-moving events: sharp flecks of sound, triggered samples, a few drastic incursions such as the monster groove that takes over on "Sequel.” Lewis is one of the pioneers of the interface between jazz and electronics (1979’s Homage to Charles Parker remains a classic of the genre), and perhaps only he could have elicited such remarkable music from Sequel’s unlikely octet. The result is one of his most challenging and beautiful creations to date. (Intakt)