|Alvin Fielder is a drummer because at age 12 he heard a Max Roach recording and liked it. His family wanted him to study Pharmacy, his father’s profession, and although he became a Pharmacist, music helped shift his destiny. In 1963 he was one of the founders of the now legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and there, he was in good company: “Sound”, Roscoe Mitchell’s masterwork, was the first recording with his name on it. The records that followed – many of them as a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra – contributed to the development of the myth surrounding this pioneer of free jazz who thinks that music is like painting a portrait or writing creatively: “Drumming is not beating on something”, he warns.
If anyone still has doubts about that after all these years of great examples, along comes Fielder with a trio made up of pianist Chris Parker and trumpeter Dennis González - a trio sometimes transformed into a quartet (with Aaron González on the double bass or Stefan González playing the second drum set) and even a quintet, when both of González' sons play, in which Stefan plays vibraphone. A challenging association of personalities which includes two young musicians coming from a past in hardcore punk(!); a master of the piano who is as at ease in a straightahead jazz format as he is composing symphonic works; and, last but not least, one of the most gratifying trumpet soloists around. Obviously, a disc by this crew is driven by tradition and history but with a vision for the future, a document of the jazz continuum, alive, pertinent and audacious.
There's no way you can be indifferent.