Wadada Leo Smith & Gunter Baby Sommer Wisdom In Time

This is a tremendously satisfying disc that takes many listens to fully appreciate — Wisdom In Time is an absolutely appropriate title for this disc. Smith, the often-introspective AACM trumpeter, and Sommer, the loopy East German drummer, find a wonderful middle ground between invention and comfort. Most of this music is time-based, to a degree. This is not to suggest that there are rock solid meters on every tune but that the song titles ("A Sonic Voice Enclosed In The Wind,” "Rain Cycles,” "Woodland Trail To The Giants”) suggest natural rhythms and inspirations. Each piece is a relatively gentle, linear exploration, with latitude provided by Smith’s judicious use of electronic processing. These compositions are definitely song-oriented; Sommer in particular seems to have a game plan for each. Whenever the two get into a sensual dance based around Sommer’s toms, as on "Old Times Roll,” it’s pure magic. There are no sudden, sharp moves from either and as usual, Smith doesn’t squawk and wail just to prove he’s a free improviser; his melodies are both unusual and satisfying. This disc goes down like fine wine, cellared to perfection. (Intakt)