2007 release of modern Free Jazz improvisations recorded live in 2004 with an extensive line-up.
Roscoe Mitchell's musical range has always stretched even beyond the elastic borders of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and his drive to the frontier is especially evident on these 2004 performances by the Transatlantic Art Ensemble. It's a 14-piece group that includes members of Mitchell's Note Factory and fellow-saxophonist Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, a virtuosic collective with trumpeter Corey Wilkes, pianist Craig Taborn, and bassist Barry Guy standing out amidst a host of strings, reeds and percussion. The group consistently blurs the lines between contemporary composition and free improvisation, whether it's with subtly layered string textures, spiky violin, the Debussy-like grace of Neil Metcalfe's flute, or a sudden burst of sustained, fluid melody. Edited from three longer pieces, the music consistently has Mitchell finding new musical ground. The long third track stands out for his take on modern jazz traditions, opening with a fractured theme that sounds like Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool reconstituted for an extraterrestrial audience, while track eight builds sustained tension with repeated and dislocated rhythmic figures, stretching control to the breaking point. --Stuart Broomer