Luther Thomas - Finally! Total Unity in 3 Phases

Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure

For anyone who only associates the alto saxophonist through discs like Funky Donkey and groups like Human Arts Ensemble, the music of this unusually configured quartet will be nothing less than startling. In quieter moments, the industrial surrealism hark back to Thomas’ BAG colleague Julius Hemphill’s Roi Boye and the Gotham Minstrels, but when they ramp up the intensity, resulting music is withering. At every turn, Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut (guitar, drums), Motoko Shimiizu (toys, recorder and voice) and Ed Chang (computer, reeds) simply set Thomas off. He plays almost continuously from beginning to end, bobbing and weaving through ever-shifting textures, yet always maintaining an exultant sound steeped in the African-American continuum. Finally! is an object lesson in genre-bending improvisation.

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