Wadada Leo Smith Spiritual Dimensions

A double-CD of music from someone like Wadada Leo Smith is something not to be taken lightly. The man's history in music is replete with groundbreaking forays into the new that most artists can only dream of in a couple of lifetimes. One CD is a foot into the acoustic world with the "Golden Quintet," where Vijay Iyer's spacious piano work frames, and is jostled by, Don Moye and Pheeroan AkLaff, with John Lindberg's bass channelling Mingus throughout. In a historical perspective, this is a startling combination of AACM funkiness with NYC intensity. The second CD by the "organic" band is a full-on, downtempo, funk epic that'll keep the head nodding in time. Fuelled by an eight-piece band, with more than their share of electronic guitar ambience and crushing bass grooves, Smith shows more than a comfort level in the universe of near-dub; he simply masters it all. Indispensable music. (Cuneiform)