Kabell Years 1971-1979 album cover
Kabell Years 1971-1979

Wadada Leo Smith

1971 - 1979

Early in his career, trumpeter Leo Smith (not yet Wadada) started his own label, Kabell, to document his more radical experiments. This four-CD set contains four albums he released over the course of nearly a decade, in between collaborations with Anthony Braxton and other projects. Two of the albums, Creative Music — 1 and Akhreanvention, are solo improv sessions on which Smith plays trumpet, flute, percussion, and bells. The other two, Reflectativity and Song of Humanity, feature his band the New Dalta Akhri, which included pianist Anthony Davis, bassist Wes Brown, and on Song of Humanity, alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and drummer Pheeroan Aklaff. In addition to that material, the box also includes 12 previously unreleased tracks, some left over from the album sessions and others discovered in his vault. (Two tracks from the original Akhreanvention LP were omitted, at Smith’s request.) His piercing trumpet and deft use of space and atmosphere comes through in both solo and group settings, and the New Dalta Akhri’s avant-garde chamber jazz is unique and beautiful.

Phil Freeman

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