Joseph Jarman is a fascinating figure. An Army veteran and poet who became a Buddhist priest and aikido instructor later in life, he brought politically militant theatricality to the Art Ensemble of Chicago; at one infamous performance, he came onstage naked, ranting at the audience. This album, recorded in 1966, features Jarman on alto (and reading his poem “Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City”), Fred Anderson on tenor sax, Billy Brimfield on trumpet, Charles Clark on bass, Thurman Barker and Steve McCall on drums, and marks the only recorded appearance of pianist Christopher Gaddy, who died at 24 in 1968. Clark’s powerfully bowed bass draws your attention, while the horns lecture and debate in a way that prefigures the Art Ensemble.
- Scott Yanow from AllMusic