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Naked – The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Naked - The Art Ensemble of Chicago Artist: The Art Ensemble of Chicago
Album: Naked
Release Date: March 28, 2000
Duration: 48:26
Genre: Jazz
Styles: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz
Recording Date: November 25, 1985 – July 27, 1986
Recording Location: Rawleston Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY

With its finely honed and varied mix of free jazz, bebop, and world influences, Naked clocks in as a fairly typical ’80s outing by the venerable, avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. On the relatively straight-ahead end there are trumpeter Lester Bowie’s jazz-reggae cut “Tobago Tango” and hard-bop swinger “We Bop,” as well as bassist Malachi Favor’s New Orleans calypso “Way Way Down Yonder.” More free-form outings include Joseph Jarmen’s mercurial “RMR” and two wholly improvised numbers credited to the band, “Flash 1” and “Galactic Landscape.” Thankfully, amidst the shifting contexts, each member is able to maintain their distinct sound: Bowie bright and vaporous, saxophonist’s Jarmen and Roscoe Mitchell singing and abstractly tart, Favors solid and comical, and percussionist Don Moye supple and strong. After two decades of perfecting their pleasingly contradictory mix of minimalist arrangements and expansive ensemble improvisations, the Art Ensemble of Chicago settled into a seasoned, if at times complacent, groove on Naked. The edgier, unpredictable feel of late-’70s releases like Nice Guys and Full Force give way to Naked’s more formal and compact sound, which is appealing without being especially challenging. Still, Naked’s accessibility makes it a good introduction to the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s vast catalog and gives the ardent fan a nice break from more austere releases from the early part of group’s career.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Dancer / Famoudou Don Moye The Art Ensemble of Chicago 2:14
Tobago Tango / Lester Bowie The Art Ensemble of Chicago 7:13
Flash 1 / The Art Ensemble of Chicago The Art Ensemble of Chicago 4:21
We Bop / Lester Bowie The Art Ensemble of Chicago 6:07
Charm, No. 10 / The Art Ensemble of Chicago The Art Ensemble of Chicago 3:13
RMR / Joseph Jarman The Art Ensemble of Chicago 8:04
Galactic Landscape / The Art Ensemble of Chicago The Art Ensemble of Chicago 8:11
Way Way Down Yonder / Malachi Favors / Malachi Favors Maghostus The Art Ensemble of Chicago 9:03
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