Reviews that mention Bobby Zankel

April 28, 2021

The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Expanded Ensemble

Soundpath
Clean Feed CF 556 CD

Chris Pattishall

Zodiac Suite

No label No #

Extending the breadth of Jazz history these ensembles move past salutes to expected improvised music figures to present programs honoring two deceased composer/arranger/pianists involved in musical transition during distinct eras. Led by New York-based pianist Chris Pattishall, Zodiac Suite is a reconfiguration and amplification to sextet, of Mary Lou Williams’ (1910-1981) 12-part program originally recorded solo and by her trio. Antithetical, and not just because The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound is a 17-piece Philadelphia-based big band directed by alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel. Soundpath is the premier recording of a suite it commissioned from AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams (1930-2017), first performed in 2012 with the composer at rehearsals. MORE

February 11, 2018

Bobby Zankel & the Wonderful Sound 6

Celebrating William Parker@65
NotTwo MW 9562-2

Avoiding the trappings of a nostalgia while celebrating the Golden Age status of one band member, a sextet of New Yorkers and Philadelphians prove that there’s prove that there’s still plenty of energy in Energy Music. Played by committed musicians, The New Thing still sounds new.

A four-part suite honoring the 65th birthday of bassist William Parker, who has seemingly played with every musician interested in exploratory sounds, Celebrating is doubly relevant by confirming that creative musicians don’t disappear just because they live outside of New York or Chicago. Philadelphia-based alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel, who has worked with everyone from Cecil Taylor to the Dells, is the chief instigator here. Violinist Diane Monroe a former members of Uptown String Quartet and the String Trio of New York is another Philly resident. Pianist Dave Burrell, whose skills were utilized by Archie Shepp and David Murray, and drummer Muhammad Ali, known for the 1970s’ Paris-based Center of the World quartet, also live in Pennsylvania’s largest city. New York trombonist Steve Swell fills out the band MORE

February 7, 2013

Fred Ho & the Saxophone Liberation Front

Snake-Eaters
Mutable Music/Big Red Media 002

Fred Ho & Quincy Saul

The Music of Cal Massey (A Tribute)

Mutable Music/Big Red Media 004

By Ken Waxman

Revolutionary Marxist, convinced polemist and canny social critic, baritone saxophonist Fred Ho is all this and more. Critically, as these exceptional CDs prove, Ho’s high-quality composing, band-leading and improvising are memorable long past the point of agit-prop.

He’s particularly skillful in forging into music expressions of his beliefs that include the need for oppressed people’s liberation and the intrinsic beauty of indigenous African-American and Oriental-sourced sounds. Snake Eaters, a matchless demonstration of Ho’s talents uses only the reed textures available from a saxophone quartet. Via a larger sonic canvas available with 12 players, The Music of Cal Massey is even more spectacular, as Ho interprets compositions by Massey, another politically sophisticated improviser. MORE

February 7, 2013

Fred Ho & Quincy Saul

The Music of Cal Massey (A Tribute)
Mutable Music/Big Red Media 004

Fred Ho & the Saxophone Liberation Front

Snake-Eaters

Mutable Music/Big Red Media 002

By Ken Waxman

Revolutionary Marxist, convinced polemist and canny social critic, baritone saxophonist Fred Ho is all this and more. Critically, as these exceptional CDs prove, Ho’s high-quality composing, band-leading and improvising are memorable long past the point of agit-prop.

He’s particularly skillful in forging into music expressions of his beliefs that include the need for oppressed people’s liberation and the intrinsic beauty of indigenous African-American and Oriental-sourced sounds. Snake Eaters, a matchless demonstration of Ho’s talents uses only the reed textures available from a saxophone quartet. Via a larger sonic canvas available with 12 players, The Music of Cal Massey is even more spectacular, as Ho interprets compositions by Massey, another politically sophisticated improviser. MORE