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Vietnam by Revolutionary Ensemble

Heralded as a premier and cutting-edge avant-garde jazz-chamber trio, this 2009 CD is the reissue of the original LP, released in 1972. The band built a following during its reign through 1977, as this album consists of two extended workouts, rooted on what might appear to be the angst and discontent experienced with the Vietnam War.

The musicians project a broad, gutsy sound. With violinist Jerome Cooper’s edgy and dark staccato lines amid bassist Sirone’s dense, earthen-toned arco and single note phrasings, the trio generates a tumultuous series of dialogues. Drummer/percussionist Jerome Cooper instills a sense of perpetual motion, throughout these intense improvisational exercises. In effect, they chart open terrain via soaring choruses, often underscored with ominous intentions.

The trio also uses space as a vantage point in spots and strut their respective stuff on "Vietnam 2," evidenced by Cooper’s sweeping, polyrhythmic solo that casts a sense of urgency. Jenkins occasionally charts minimalist territory, yet on this piece, they primarily serve up a hodgepodge of abstracts while turning up the heat. It’s like they’re rocketing towards a spiritual reawakening, paralleled by the musicians ability to stimulate and prod the mind’s eye. A worthy reissue indeed, by a rather remarkable unit that established a strategy, or foundation, for many other forward-thinking artists within the vastly expressive world of avant-garde jazz music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Revolutionary Ensemble
  • CD Title: Vietnam
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Reissue Original Release: 1972
  • Record Label: ESP
  • Musicians: Jerome Cooper (percussion), Sirone (bass), Leroy Jenkins (violin)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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