|For their ninth Justin Time recording, the musicians of the World Saxophone Quartet one of the world’s most acclaimed jazz ensembles, and one of its most durable have chosen to address the current political climate of the United States the way they know best. Bold original compositions are embellished with no-holds-barred lyrics, provocative arrangements and superlative performances. Not content to rest on its laurels, the WSQ, described by the New York Times’ Jon Pareles as “the most original and important group to emerge since Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane redefined group improvisation in the late 1950s” has produced a recording that is seething in its disdain for the current Administration (“Spy On Me Blues”) and immediate in its relevance (the Katrina-inspired “Amazin’ Disgrace”).
A group not lacking in charisma, the ample personality of the WSQ, enjoying its fourth decade and now consisting of the triumvirate of founding members Oliver Lake, Bluiett (formerly Hamiett Bluiett) and David Murray, ensures that guests are not necessarily required in order for interesting music to be made. However, guests abound. Electric bass legend Jamaaladeen Tacuma, trombonist/arranger extraordinaire Craig Harris, legendary American music iconoclast James “Blood” Ulmer and powerhouse drummer Lee Pearson all contribute immeasurably, and there are additional guests in saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Bruce Williams, vocalist Carol Amba and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt.
Destined to become a landmark recording, alongside such classic albums as Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues and Charles Mingus’ Fables Of Faubus, the WSQ’s Political Blues succeeds in being both a rallying cry against half-truths and injustices and a compelling musical statement. Recorded earlier this year in New York, the World Saxophone Quartet’s Political Blues have created a statement that’s both timely and timeless, and never less than utterly compelling.