|Ever since the inception of Art Ensemble of Chicago Publishing Company, Inc. in 1970, the premier avant-garde new music group in the United States has been the model for self-publishing and self-production and artist ownership of artistic property. The group in its quest for Black independent music making has stressed these facets of the "music business". And even though the Art Ensemble has struck deals with, among other labels, Delmark Records here in Chicago, and DIW and ECM in Japan and Europe respectively, they have always managed to release their own product over the years on AECO Records. Starting in 1976 with Famoudou Moye's Sun Percussion, continuing with Kabalaba (1978), with special guest, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, on up until The Chicago Blues Tradition (2003) and the tribute to the late bassist Oscar Brown, III, For Bobo, their trademark has been music that is highly imaginative and original while at the same time steeped in the blues with a definite eye to the future.
Now, the production team at AECO has once more gone through the archives and come up with another gem, culminating in the recent release of Fundamental Destiny, a record of a live 1991 Art Ensemble concert given in early June of that year at the Frankfurt, Germany Jazz Festival. All the members of the ensemble are present: Lester Bowie on trumpet, Joseph Jarman on woodwinds and percussion, Roscoe Mitchell on woodwinds and percussion, Malachi Favors Moghostut playing both bowed and pizzicato bass and percussion, and Famoudou on drums and percussion. What makes this release all the more special is that, like Kabalaba and The Chicago Blues Tradition, they invited a renowned keyboard artist to perform with them, in this case the late Don Pullen. He adds another group of ideas to the already interesting chordal landscape of the four compositions. Plus, there is that ever-present life energy of the band that he compliments, especially on his solo on the Joseph Jarman penned title track.
Be ready to add another must-have title to the ongoing book that is the music of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, always "Great Black Music, Ancient To The Future".