Rapidly closing the holes in the AEOC back catalogue here. I recently picked up this brilliant disc. It’s been fractioned into four parts by name, but runs as a single consecutive take (76.24 minutes) of their 1972 live performance at Mandel Hall University in Chicago. It’s an especially excellent AEOC title & pretty much covers their colossal wealth of styles & abilities superbly well, from the lampooning pomp Jazz, multi-dimensional Avant-Garde, Afrocentric themes & patterns & of course total shock-wave blow-out oblivion hifalutin histrionics.
Ordaining with indomitable bombast, rowdy rock-esque & repetitive strike group syncopated stabbing. in seconds the components start fragmenting & free improvising giving way to a massive balkanization of free-spirited chaos & noise. An abrupt coordinated halt ambushes after about four minutes, ushering in hella’ larking from Bowie & the boys. This progresses to one of those wonderful cartoonish, classical Jazz piss-takes that AEOC do so well, with a levity, humour & exaggeration, but also, marvellous musicianship. The following 20 minutes is more sedated, travelling through a myriad of seasons, moods & styles with tons of different instrumentations, coacting, soloing in exploratory expounding, escorted by a constant variegation of bells, chimes, small percussion etc.
At about 34.30 the miraculous forces of molten omnipotence are summoned, this is the section I really want to focus on. It’s one of the most staggeringly extreme & strenuous blow-out, hell for leather, freak out episodes in Free Jazz history. Yes, EVER! These lot are renowned for their potency in sustained opalescent mayhem, but this paroxysm is a particularly profound performance in the paranormal. Perhaps the primary detonator here is Don Moye, who flails with such an intensity, insistence & preposterous peremptory percolation, divine dexterity & almost unimaginable macro innovations that JUST KEEP COMING, not to omit outrageous stamina & log splitting power surging & fluxing in a steady column of stupefying incendiary overspill, gushing gouts of ridiculously creative pyrocosm & super invention iridescence. It’s like his life depends on this performance, & somehow the ascendency & urgency keeps spiking. also his pedal work, punching through with these gigantic skin-splitters, altering the angles & trajectory, it is supremely impressive, glorious & outstandingly exhilarating with insane strength & extended physical vigour, but this inexplicable ebullition to me clarifies him as one of the greatest & hardest drummers of all time that mingled so many facets of the apparatus (stamina/diversity/distinction/speed/endurance) into one giant fizzing comet of irrecusable reification. Now that’s just the drums…can you imagine the combined hysteria prepotency of the four remaining members expostulating, simultaneously over this? Witness the impossible & be accosted by some of the most unthinkable, indefinable, paranormal pummelling & thermo-nova shock-shroud that swirls beyond the criteria of words. Perhaps AEOC at their most manic & effusive, sensationalist inferno, wit’ hella hollering n’ caterwauling just to shimmer & carbonize that bit harder. Splendacious, & this is from a disc 55 years + later, being present in the venue during such radiant turbulence must have been some serious out of body bollocks!!!!!!!!
After this cleansing tumult, the new galaxy is explored with percussive profusion, bell-showers & much larking on The Little Instruments. An African energy with abundant Avant-Garde experimentalisation & free-form flourishes with masses of bass improvisation from Favors. There’s a final twist with Moye laying down some hard breaks before the finish.
Proper sonic sorcery! these cats were just fuckin somethin’ else man!!!!!!! Lovely cover collage as well.