Vijay iyer / wadada leo smith - a cosmic rhythm / with each stroke


Like a lot of kids, I was excited to add U2's Rattle and Hum to my collection in the fall of 1988. I went straight to my bedroom, tore open the rectangular box that housed CDs in those days and powered up my disc player. Track 10 opened with Bono belting out “John Coltrane and A Love Supreme,” which by coincidence was the other new CD in my shopping bag that day. The first jazz record I'd ever bought. I stared at the Coltrane disc as U2 ran through its lovely Billie Holiday tribute. I'd been introduced to A Love Supreme at a college radio station in Toronto known as CKLN-FM. It was a magical place that I would cling to for a decade, hosting - and more importantly - listening to as many radio shows as I could. I was lucky enough to learn about Coltrane and Miles at the same time I learned about Don Cherry, Nina Simone, Ornette Coleman and countless other avant-garde greats. Amidst that musical avalanche, Coltrane was my north pole. Three decades later, he still is. And A Love Supreme is the album I most often recommend to young music fans.

I first heard about Smith in the early 1990s, when I was starting to learn about the artists of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. I'd read an interview with Anthony Braxton in which he spoke of Smith in the most superlative terms imaginable. Because of this, I got my hands on a classic album by saxophonist Frank Lowe, The Flam (1975), featuring one Leo Smith. I put it on, eager to hear this genius of the trumpet. I was expecting some flashy post- Freddie Hubbard stylings, maybe — but instead I heard great silences, toneless columns of air, long tones that cut diagonally across the hubbub of the ensemble. I felt the same way I'd felt when I'd first heard Thelonious Monk eight years earlier: All I could do was ask, "Is this legal? Is this even music? Does he know something that no one else knows?"


Vijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm / With Each StrokeVijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm / With Each StrokeVijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm / With Each StrokeVijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm / With Each Stroke

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