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Jemeel Moondoc Trio - Live at Glenn Miller Café

François Couture, All Music Guide

Some live jazz albums exist to chronicle important steps or rare groupings in an artist's career. Others you wonder why they were released. And then there are the albums hat saw the light of day simply because the concert was brilliant, out of a desire to share a magical moment with a larger number of enthusiasts.

Live at Glenn Miller Café, Vol. 1 belongs to the latter category.
Recorded at the Stockholm (Sweden) club on April 15, 2002, it features Jemeel Moondoc, William Parker, and Hamid Drake.

The rhythm section had recorded a studio session with local saxophonist Anders Gahnold a few hours earlier (released as ...and William Danced and billed to the William Parker Trio).
The jazzy mood established in the studio carried on to the stage, with the difference that Moondoc approaches free jazz with a lot more soul and "a propos".

The CD contains two 30-minute pieces. The trio shows high levels of activity in Hi-Rise, the saxophone soaring in pure fire music fashion. As for the rhythm section, let's just say it has earned its laurels but doesn't sit on them.

Blues from My People begins with Moondoc addressing the audience, explaining why he sees himself as a creative artist and not a musician: "I don't take requests".
He then launches into a torch solo that sets the mood: the piece will alternate between bluesy despair in trio and tension released in solos.

This is a spirited performance, obviously enjoyed by both performers and audience, nicely recorded. Don't hesitate over this one.