August-13th-2003, 06:30 AM
Freedom Art Quartet - Spirits Awake
This is an interesting disc that I have had the opportunity to listen to a couple of times in the past two days. The Freedom Art Quartet is Abraham Burton (ts), Omar Kabir (tp, flh), Jaribu Shahid (b), Lloyd Haber (d) and on a couple of selections Douglas Yates (as). The recording, on the Freedom Art Records label is produced by Shahid and Haber and all the songs are by Haber.
Despite the inferences that may be drawn from the title of the group and the instrumentation, this is not a free jazz outing. To my ears Haber's compositions are not incrediby complex or developed, but they effectively set the general mood of each piece and provide a structure from which the soloists can create. Most of the tunes are relatively short (the longest is only 7:37 with most between 5-6 minutes) and the soloists do a good job of making concise statements that actually say something. Burton sounds particularly confident and displays a nice big sound. Yates, who I was unfamiliar with makes the best of his three appearances with a Dolphy influenced approach that really grabs your attention, especially his solo on the tune Kimbunga. Kabir contributes several relaxed solos. Shahid and Haber do not draw too much attention to themselves, but instead provide steady support and keep the rhythm moving.
Overall, a good recording that gives reason to hope these musicians continue to develop together.