Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers Cuneiform *****
Free jazz is much more than just a stylistic decision for legendary US trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. With every note – and there is eloquent variety in his tone, from a conspiratorial whisper to an anguished shriek - one can’t but share the burning outrage of an artist who has dedicated his life to liberating not only his music but his fellow man.
Ten Freedom Summers is a towering work of both composition and improvisation, spread over four discs, evoking in startlingly visceral terms the pivotal events of the American Civil Rights movement. A perennial outsider, Smith has rarely been given a platform equal to his talents, so this lavish recording – combining a chamber orchestra and Smith’s own quintet - may be fairly described as his magnum opus, a masterpiece from one of the most important free musicians of the 20th century. Free jazz aficionados will snap it up. The open of mind and ear could do a lot worse than follow suit. cuneiformrecords.com