Kabalaba cover

In the mid ’70s, the Art Ensemble of Chicago had their own label, AECO, which they mostly used for solo and duo projects, plus this terrific live album, recorded at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival. Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams is present, his pounding free jazz piano serving as anchor sometimes and fuel for the fire other times. The album’s first half moves from a ceremonial mood to raucous squall and clatter; the second half opens with an extended percussion passage, followed by solos from Mitchell and Bowie; and it all ends with a gong strike, as though calling proceedings to a halt.

Phil Freeman