1967 - 1968
An invaluable box set that pulls together formative recordings by the Art Ensemble (of Chicago), showing the heady interface between free jazz and non-idiomatic improvisation in some of its earliest blossomings. It pulls together a number of key albums – Lester Bowie’s Numbers 1&2, Roscoe Mitchell’s Congliptious, and Roscoe Mitchell’s Art Ensemble’s Old/Quartet – and adds some rehearsal recordings where you can hear the musicians feeling out the parameters of what they would do in future decades. It sits sweetly alongside Mitchell’s pioneering Sound as an example of free jazz exploding its own tenuous boundaries, and you can hear, in the address of spatiality and dynamics, some of what the European musicians drew from American free jazz.
– Jon Dale