THE GATHERING

LEIMERT PARK: ROOTS AND BRANCHES OF LOS ANGELES JAZZ

 

It was Thelonious Monk's birthday, October 10. An auspicious day, sunny and brimming with excitement and anticipation as the twenty-two members of a new band called The Gathering arrived at noon for their first landmark recording at California Institute of the Arts. Jesse Sharps, leader and organizer of the band for this historic event, greeted everyone as they entered the studio, watching while the group unpacked and assembled instruments, set up music stands, and passed out charts. The recording itself did not start until mid-afternoon, which left plenty of time for organization, a lengthy warmup interval, and videotaped interviews with each of the musicians. The studio buzzed with an ongoing cacophony of finger exercises, diatonic and chromatic scales, trills, arpeggios, and experimental chord voicings, accompanied by the splash of cymbals, the rattle of percussion, and the hum of string players sounding long sustained As.

The Gathering is a multi-generational band that unites a group of the most innovative musicians in the Los Angeles area. The personnel is a veritable who's who in contemporary music. Many in this band are and have been associated with groups on the national scene. Ndugu Chancler has worked with George Duke, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Weather Report, among many others. Phil Ranelin played with Freddie Hubbard. Roberto Miranda has accompanied Cecil Taylor, Kenny Burrell, Bobby Bradford, and David Murray. Azar Lawrence appeared with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Cedar Walton. Seasoned musicians all, they eagerly joined forces with upcoming talented young players for an inspiring day of music, poetry, song, and celebration.

During breaks, participants were interviewed on camera by poet, musician, and graphic designer Bongo Ras Starr for the documentary film that producer Tom Paige has prepared in conjunction with the making of this CD. Both film and recording pay homage to the prominent black artists on the West Coast, many of whom came through the ranks of Horace Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. Tom feels that the title of the CD and film "truly conveys both the past and present Leimert Park connection that all the musicians shared, whether members of the Ark, friends of Jesse Sharps, longtime as well as recent players from the area, or other musicians who came in through their connection with those involved."

Jesse, who is the creative force behind this session, believes that The Gathering encourages its members to take pride in their history and culture. "It keeps the spirit of the ancestors alive," he affirms. "It empowers the musicians so they have something of their own, something to show progress over the years. It brings attention to local talents, gives them confidence as artists and musicians and assures that their voices will be heard. It lets them take an active part in giving voice to the community. And it pairs young players with some of the more experienced older musicians to preserve tradition and at the same time create something new."

How did The Gathering come about? Some months ago, Jesse instigated a project to archive the music of the Ark--some 500 songs he wanted to put on computer files. When a recording session planned in tandem with the project failed to materialize, Jesse, still intent on preserving the legacy of the vanguard jazz movement, switched to Plan B, which, with encouragement and assistance from Bongo Ras Starr and funding and production equipment supplied by Tom Paige, evolved into the Leimert Park: Roots and Branches recording.

Jesse often plays, rehearses, and connects with other musicians in the Park. He recollects, "I saw a great cast of players come through Leimert: Ndugu, Fundi, Tracy, Kafi, Phil, Michael, Kamau--all the core guys from the Ark--and finally I said, 'Hey, we got to get together and do something!'"

Searching for a name for this new band of dynamic musicians, Jesse remembered a co-op community center of the early 1970s called The Gathering. Started by Dadisi Sanyika and located on Western Avenue near 45th Street, it was a place for what poet Kamau DaŠood calls "inner attainment," a gathering together of various aspects of African American culture: community organizations, fund drives, tea, music, poetry, dance, film, theater, martial arts, and discussion groups. Horace Tapscott and Kamau performed there regularly, often joined by top performers of the day such as Pharoah Sanders, as well as many local talents.

Assembling The Gathering of 2005 was a long and difficult process. "You don't just go down a list," Jesse says. "You have to see who's in the community, who's playing." It took nearly three months for Jesse to track down the right personnel for the band. Some musicians he called, some he ran into, others contacted him. He often conferred with Billy Childs, who was especially helpful in locating the whereabouts of many potential players. He met Ndugu Chancler in Leimert Park, coming out of the cleaners at 7:30 a.m.--there was his drummer. He found Azar Lawrence jamming at the World Stage, and discovered young Kamasi Washington doing a Tuesday night set when he dropped into Fifth Street Dick's. Later, Nick Rosen, bassist and Cal Arts student, helped make things happen by working endless hours to make sure the band had a place to play, and Miguel Ferguson, who recruited Myka Miller, Sara Schoenbeck, and Peter Jacobson (the latter from his own string group Supernova), also stepped in to help with the mixing for this CD.

Jesse establishes headquarters in Leimert Park when he's in town, recognizes its role as a major force in the evolution of L.A. jazz. Given its history, Leimert Park is an unlikely place to foster a community dedicated to African American arts and culture. Founded by Walter Leimert in 1927, it was one of L.A.'s earliest planned communities, bound by a racially restrictive covenant as a whites-only neighborhood until 1948, when the Supreme Court invalidated the clause in property deeds that dictated where people could and could not live. After the Supreme Court over-ruled this form of segregation, African Americans--until then largely confined to the crowded areas bordering Central Avenue--began moving west and settling in other parts of town: first along Western Avenue, then along Crenshaw Boulevard. By 1960, the influx of African Americans in the Crenshaw District (which included Leimert Park) had expanded until that district became the hub of the African American community. Located adjacent to Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Street, Leimert Park has been a cultural gathering place since the Brockman Art Gallery opened there in 1967. Various other shops and venues arrived and departed throughout the '70s and '80s but it wasn't until the arrival of the World Stage performance space, founded by Kamau DaŠood and Billy Higgins in 1989, and Fifth Street Dick's, the coffee house Richard Fulton opened in 1992, that Leimert Park began the renaissance that sparked the beginning of its heyday. Since Kamau and Billy converted a small space in the former Brockman Gallery into a venue for performances and workshops, the Stage has played a pivotal role in fostering the careers of countless young musicians as well as attracting nationally known artists to stop by and perform. Kamau, a powerful spoken-word artist, describes the Stage as "a place where folks could come and drop their tears and open up their chests and let all the bats and demons out. And jewels, too."

Many of the musicians in The Gathering honed their craft in Leimert Park. They performed at the World Stage, at Fifth Street Dick's, and in the green triangular park at the edge of 43rd Street--three places where newcomers could play with seasoned musicians, gain performing experience, and interact with the artistic community. But the young musicians in Leimert weren't just building their chops and paying dues. They were learning the credo that Horace Tapscott embraced: Music for the community.

The spirit of Horace Tapscott was a tangible presence throughout this session. Many musicians in The Gathering had played in Horace's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. Those too young to have known him personally carried his legend with them. His essence pervaded the music being recorded; his legacy flowed from every instrument in the band. Former Ark members repeatedly cited Horace's lifelong dictum: "To be contributive, not competitive." Indeed, from its beginning in the early 1970s, the Ark was a community endeavor, a group that reflected the current social and cultural scene in South Central Los Angeles. It was also an organization that continuously nurtured and shaped upcoming young musicians, perpetuating the maxim of Horace's mentor, Samuel Browne: "Pass it on." Horace himself was a mentor, father figure, and big brother to countless musicians, including a number of those in the present-day Gathering. Listen to what some of them have to say about him:

KAMAU DAŃOOD: I think of brightness when I think of him. He was a master pianist, arranger, composer, and community organizer who held all those people together for so long--people with different personalities, different mind sets. It takes a master to do this, a bright beautiful spirit. All I see now is a smile.

DWIGHT TRIBLE: Horace said the spirit has given you something to give to this universe. It doesn't matter who digs it or who doesn't dig it because we're rescuing this planet with what we're doing. You have to have the courage to put it down no matter what happens. Horace did that. He never backed down, always gave his all no matter if two people or two million were there....That's the main thing I learned from Horace Tapscott: give everything you've got.

MICHAEL SESSION: Horace said to the young cats, "This is your band, your Arkestra. You've got to go here before you go anywhere else." Horace called this black classical music, called it universal. This music has life and longevity; it's a healing thing.

JESSE SHARPS: Horace could bring the magic out, especially when the musicians were young...because he would never say you couldn't do it. He'd just say, "C'mon, go ahead and do it!" Just push you out there.

TRACY CALDWELL: I first saw him at the Watts Towers during a Mingus Scholarship concert. This figure walked into the room and just by sight, my spirit said, "That's Horace Tapscott!" He was a very powerful man; he could walk into a room and you knew who he was. He gave access to young journeymen players, which is what this Gathering is all about.

Jesse Sharps embodies many of the qualities Horace Tapscott possessed. He, too, is community-oriented. He, too, is a leader and mentor, with a magnetic personality. Like Horace, he walks into a room and takes command. A galvanizing force, he unites people and projects, brings plans and procedures into focus, makes things come alive.

Jesse has a long personal history with Horace Tapscott and the Ark. He first saw Horace in 1965, during the Watts uprising. Twelve years old at the time, he found Horace leading the band on 103rd Street. ("They had a piano, saxophones, and everything, right out on the street. At first I thought they were a political group--like the Panthers.") A short while later, he watched Horace perform again, this time at the Watts Happening Coffee House, and once more he was blown away. ("You hear [that band] for the first time, you say, 'That's it! I gotta do that!'") In 1967, he was invited to attend a rehearsal at Horace's house, where he played baritone saxophone. "Come see me later when you grow up," Horace told him.

Subsequent studies with Cecil Taylor at Antioch College in Ohio prepared Jesse to return to the Ark in 1973, playing flute and soprano saxophone this time. Soon he was also writing and arranging for the band and eventually Horace asked him to organize and lead the Ark rehearsals. "Cecil Taylor taught me discipline," Jesse remembers. "He held six and seven-hour rehearsals, once fasted for forty days before a concert. But it was Horace who inspired me out of love, respect, and giving."

Jesse takes pride in the lineup of stellar musicians from the Los Angeles music scene who joined the Gathering for this historic session. Many of them are teachers and world travelers, equally prominent on the European continent. All are adventuresome, seek new avenues of expression, continually experiment and push new musical boundaries. And all relish the opportunity to preserve and perform African American music by offering it to the community, living the music each and every day as they participate in America's cultural and social evolution.

The Gathering's illustrious senior roster includes Michael Session (currently the director of the Ark), Azar Lawrence, Phil Ranelin, Kafi Roberts, Roberto Miranda, Ndugu Chancler, Fundi Legohn, and Taumbu, with Dwight Trible's vocals and Kamau DaŠood's poetry garnishing the band's program. All credit Jesse for spearheading the session. Dwight is especially impressed with Jesse's ability to organize this project. "Jesse got this cast of characters together, brought this beautiful spirit back, created a historic moment." And Roberto echoes Dwight: "Jesse deserves kudos for having the courage and tenacity and commitment to pull this off. He worked hard to do it and by God's grace it was successful." Kamau agrees: "The spirit of this Gathering shines a light on the great voices of the West Coast. It keeps a place for the story to grow and for the children's voices to be heard in the community, a legacy being continued for the young." Michael Session observes that the young musicians in The Gathering are the same age he was when he joined the Ark. "It's inspiring to see the legacy continue. We're blessed to play this music--testimony of time and history prove its life and longevity." "An event of the highest order," says Taumbu. And Fundi points out that "This is healing music. We're here today, putting it down forever to turn on young lives and see that the legacy continues." "An honor to be involved in this project," Azar declares. "The young inspire me."

The group of young musicians assembled in The Gathering includes Nathaniel Brooks, Brandon Coleman, Yosef "Joey" Dosik, Miguel Ferguson, Randall Fisher, Richard Grant, Peter Jacobson, Myka Miller, Nick Rosen, Sara Schoenbeck, Traci Wannomae, and Kamasi Washington. Seeing the young musicians perform in the Gathering, Phil Ranelin expresses optimism about the future. "With young people like Kamasi, Brandon, Randall, Tracy, and Nathaniel, the music is in good hands." As a young man himself in the 1970s, Phil founded a collective in Detroit called Tribe, a self-help organization for musicians that included a magazine and record label. Tribe played a vital role in preserving and promoting African American culture, much as The Gathering does today.

All the senior band members remarked on the great opportunity The Gathering provides for young people to learn and interact with the elders, to come together as one to speak for the community and to honor the traditions of the past. "We learn orally," Ndugu states. "There's only so much you can learn from books. The music is passed down and perpetuated by the masters, part of an ancient African tradition." Dwight observes that "Horace and Billy Higgins always made themselves available for anybody, took the mystery from the imaginary line from being out there--another great--and being on this side, trying to get there. All these young cats prove that God didn't stop making good musicians. When you see Richard Grant and Kamasi playing, no matter how oppressed we are, the seeds will keep on springing out of the cement. Time will bring some seasoning. The music will carry on." "Whatever you want to do, you can do it," Michael Session tells young people. "This music is strong, viable...lets you think what you want to think instead of telling you what to think."

Fundi Legohn, educator and director of a high school band, seeks to "touch youth through music and dance." He's concerned about cuts in the current school music programs, stresses the importance of finding places where such programs are available. "I'm in the business of saving children through music," he tells us. "Music promotes self-confidence; it creates balance, helps kids be still and listen. Music drives out the negative voices, turns on young lives. Through music, kids feel different tempos; through music they gain the spectrum of life."

All the young musicians expressed excitement and gratitude at being able to hone their skills and stand alongside the masters. "This West Coast gathering brings us into the fold," states Nick Rosen. "The wisdom of older musicians reaches down to the young," adds Peter Jacobsen, "and the young are smokin' already!" Miguel Ferguson, whose background is in classical music, sums up his joy at being part of The Gathering in one word: "Wow!" Myka Miller seeks new sounds on the oboe, wants to be a pioneer on her instrument. "The Gathering is a freeing thing for me because I don't have to sound like anyone else." Joey Dosik's enthusiasm for the session and for Horace Tapscott's music prompted him to fly at his own expense to Los Angeles from Detroit, where he is a student at the University of Michigan. "I don't usually play baritone," he said, "but when Jesse needed a baritone player and called to invited me to join the band, I was out here with that horn ready to go."

Most of the young musicians participate in other musical groups. Nathaniel Brooks and Randall Fisher perform together in a multi-school band; both are upcoming new members of the Ark. Nathaniel is excited at this chance to play with seasoned musicians. "I want to be versatile," he states, "and play every style of music--jazz, funk, whatever." As a youngster, Randall was in an elementary school music program, where he learned to improvise on clarinet. Today, Randall has only one regret: "I wish I'd been born earlier so I could have known Horace." Traci Wannomae currently plays with a 60-piece hip-hop band. He points to the influx of young people becoming involved in jazz despite the commercial influences that periodically sweep through the community. "The Leimert Park musicians strive to express themselves in a unique way outside of commercialism. They are creating a rebirth of the music." Richard Grant was formerly the trumpet player and core member of Black Note, the highly successful hard bop quintet nurtured in Billy Higgins' workshop at the World Stage. Today he's one of the hottest young players in Los Angeles. Brandon Coleman is another hot young player who perpetuates the heritage of Horace Tapscott on the piano, and Sara Schoenbeck makes a distinctive statement on the bassoon, an instrument she studied with Rufus Oliver, former bassoonist with the Ark. Kamasi Washington speaks for himself and for his peers when he says: "Keep on movin' and trying to find yourself. Be who you are--that should be your goal."

All the senior musicians were young once, too, inspired by their elders, just as they inspire the young musicians in The Gathering today. Phil Ranelin heard J. J. Johnson as a teenager ("He knocked me out."). He found out that J. J. went to school with his aunt, used to go behind her house and practice. Phil got serious about the trombone after listening to J. J. Dwight Trible's instrument is his body; he uses his voice the same way an instrumentalist plays. First inspired by his mother, he dug Mahalia Jackson, Linda Jones, and Betty Carter. But it was Horace "who took me and turned me completely out." Taumbu listened to the classic Afro-Cuban percussionists who were part of the New York Scene in the 1950s: Candido, Mongo Santamaria, Chano Pozo. He also discovered the Eastern mysticism that John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef introduced into the music; today he incorporates these Eastern elements into his own percussion.

Michael Session's training stemmed from his joining the Ark as a teenager in 1974 and meeting Horace and the members of the band at that time: Jesse, Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq, Lester Robertson, Linda Hill. Azar Lawrence played the violin as a young child, performed with the USC Junior Orchestra. Later he became a saxophonist, listened to John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Sonny Rollins, and Arthur Blythe. Fundi Legohn pays tribute to Horace Tapscott, of course, but cites Louis Armstrong (Pops), as a strong influence, "the one who tied everything together: the spirit of our people, the history of our people from Africa across the middle to the islands to America." Roberto Miranda first emulated his father, who was a conguero, before switching to bass. He studied with Red Callender, Red Mitchell, and Ray Brown, and was soon mentored by Horace, Bobby Bradford, and John Carter, who included him in their bands. Tracy Caldwell was a student of Wadada Leo Smith.

Kamau came up through the Watts Writers Workshop, where he heard Ojenke, his main poetic influence. His way of presenting the word came from deep roots in the church, where his father was a reverend. When he wrote his poetry, he blended the church spirit with the rhythms he "snatched" from Coltrane; eventually he became the resident word musician with the Ark. Kafi Roberts's association with Ark dates back to 1975. Horace was his principal guide, but he also feels a close bond with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk. "They seem like relatives," he says.

On this CD, young lions and elder statesmen combine forces in The Gathering to deliver ear-opening music that explores new realms. The musicians mix structured and free elements, often incorporating strains of world music into the pieces played. "These musicians can do anything you ask on the spot," Jesse declares. "You don't have to write things out. Just add a little of this, take out that, and you got it." The lineup of instruments for this session includes seven saxophones (tenor, alto, soprano, baritone among them), bass clarinet, English horn, French horn, bassoon, flute, trumpet, two trombones, piano, two basses, cello, viola, drums, and percussion. Use of the oboe, cello, viola, English and French horns--instruments not usually found in the standard jazz band lineup-- enhances the group with contrasting textures and tonal colors. Reeds and brass handle the rich ensemble passages, also support the soloists with vamps and riffs, while the rhythm section, heartbeat of the orchestra, remains an integral part of both the ensembles and solos, interweaving, underscoring, and injecting musical commentary.

The first number on the CD is "Peyote Song #III," which Jesse wrote in the 1970s, inspired by a mystical session with Indians in a sweat lodge in New Mexico. The piece opens with shimmering chordal progressions that evoke images of Jesse's session in the lodge. After a pause, drums and percussion announce the next section; basses set up a recurring ground; then brasses continue and sustain the introduction with riffs until the whole ensemble sweeps into the main theme, which is based on an African-flavored pentatonic scale. The last line of the theme reappears throughout to introduce each soloist. Randall Fisher steps forward first with an intricate and compelling tenor solo that belies his age--fifteen! Trombonist Nathaniel Brooks, another prodigious young man of seventeen, follows Randall to explore the theme in augmentation as he plays long sustained notes that stride over the up-tempo rhythm. The third solo belongs to Kafi Roberts, who delivers a rhapsodic performance on flute. Saxophonists return as Tracy Caldwell, on alto, builds a series of emotionally-charged choruses into what Jesse called "the most spirited solo of the whole day;" after which Azar Lawrence leaps in to keen and wail a biting statement on tenor. Solos climax with Brandon Coleman's blistering lines and two-fisted chords on the piano and Taumbu's powerful volleys of percussion. After a restatement of the main theme, the lush opening chordal progressions bring the piece to a tranquil close.

"The Language of Saxophones" is the title poem from the book of the same name, written by spoken-word artist Kamau DaŠood. Here, Kamau eloquently speaks that language as Jesse Sharps, Michael Session, Joey Dosik, and Kamasi Washington busily converse on their horns along with him. Kamau calls himself a "word musician," a designation readily evident in the way he shapes and accents lines with the verbal equivalent of half, quarter, and sixteenth notes, which dance like a Coltrane solo. One might also call Kamau a "word magician" for the arresting imagery that laces his poems. In this spirited reading, his richly timbered bass voice tells us that the language of saxophones is "the language of bruises and bliss." It's "bop blown through a worm hole....," "staring at the core of sound...." and "stinging the ears with glory."

"Desert Fairy Princess" is Jesse's love song to the late Adele Sebastian, flute player and gentle "little flower of the Ark." "The original score for this piece was lost," Jesse says. "Adele recorded it on her own album, but it has never been played since." Dwight Trible wrote the lyrics for this version of the composition. Dwight is more than a vocalist, he is a musician who sings. His voice spans all registers, rises directly from his soul. After bassist Roberto Miranda opens the piece with an expressive arco passage, Dwight joins him in a heartfelt bass/vocal duet where voice and instrument weave countermelodies and trade antiphonal phrases. Succeeding solos paint images of desert scenes, beginning with Miguel Ferguson in a virtuoso display that demonstrates what the viola can do in a jazz setting. Phil Ranelin slides in after him to show his inventiveness and artistry on the trombone; then Jesse swirls out with torrents of Middle Eastern scales on soprano saxophone. Richard Grant concludes the instrumental solos with a kinetic display that proves him equally at home in all registers of the trumpet.

"Agony in the Garden," composed and conducted by Roberto Miranda, portrays the Biblical account of Jesus in the garden before his crucifixion as he sweats blood and asks God if he can be spared the fate that awaits him and still do God's will. The piece has three different themes, which can exist separately or combine polyphonically. The first is a bass clef figure with a Baroque feel, based on a natural minor scale in B-flat. The second is a middle register B-flat harmonic minor line with a Middle Eastern blues sound, beginning and ending on F. The third is a single note in the upper register--E- natural-- which is central to whatever the player chooses to do melodically by way of diatonic, chromatic, modal, pentatonic, or whole-tone scales, or harmonically with clusters, fourths, fifths, or sevenths. These three themes express the tension and stress Jesus experienced as he beseeched God. With plaints and moans, Jesse's soprano saxophone movingly represents the voice of Jesus while the accompanying musicians cry out humanity's longing for peace with God and the inherent pain that is in that longing. Roberto conducted this piece with no prior rehearsal. Using spontaneous hand signals and vivid body language, he elevated band-leading to a compositional as well as an improvisatory art. At one point during the recording, he touched his heart to elicit deeper emotion from the players. Beforehand, he told them, "If I point to you, I want you to play along with Jesse for a minute, then fade back down."

The tempo on "Lately's Solo" is upstairs--all stops out. The piece is based on the solo Lester Robertson (nicknamed Lately) played on "Milestones" when he was a trombonist in Gerald Wilson's orchestra. ("Lester was one of the heaviest musicians to come from the L.A. area," Jesse reminds us.) Horace transcribed and arranged Lester's solo, which became a staple in the Ark repertoire. Here, after the band's brisk unison passages, Joey Dosik kicks things off with an electrifying baritone solo, and the momentum increases from there. Solos follow from Phil Ranelin, Michael Session, Richard Grant, Azar Lawrence, Brandon Coleman, Kamasi Washington, and Ndugu Chancler as they stretch out on their respective instruments. The performances intensify as one after the other musician dives into the mix. Phil burns on trombone, again displays his agility on a challenging instrument. Michael runs the gamut on alto, spins out long chromatic and diatonic lines replete with circular figures, arpeggios, and intervallic leaps. Richard Grant pops in to detonate a shower of fiery notes on trumpet, and Azar Lawrence raises the temperature even higher in a sizzling tenor blast. Brandon Coleman is another young man with a bright future, as exemplified by the dense chordal flurries and driving melodic lines of his riveting piano solo. Kamasi slows the pace momentarily with some ballad-like passages before he rockets off, playing in the classic "Milestones" style until he gradually ventures outside harmonic boundaries. Ndugu strides in last, announcing himself with a series of sharp raps, followed by drum rolls and rumbles and the crash of cymbals. At the conclusion of each solo, the band continually orients the piece with a repetition of the "Milestones" theme.

The final number of the day was "Warriors All," a dynamic and challenging signature piece of the Ark, which Horace composed with Linda Hill and dedicated to all members of the community who struggle for civil rights and fight oppression. Working under hot lights for filming and with the air conditioning turned off to avoid noise on the recording, the musicians poured their hearts and souls into their performance of this highly important composition. "Warriors" has presently been reserved as a special bonus track for exclusive digital download at selected online sites.*

This music transcends the Los Angeles scene. It is a global phenomenon, of which The Gathering, the Ark, and the current progressive community arts movement are branches. The Gathering fosters, supports, and promotes the artists and musicians who are part of that movement, enables them to control their own destiny and to profit from their work.

Jesse holds plans for projects similar to this one in the future. A major composition by Horace Tapscott, "The Ghetto Suite," which has upwards of fifteen movements, will be the first in a series of yearly recordings. Meanwhile, the present session indicates that the work to come will be vital and adventuresome, always on the cutting edge, part of a continuum that furthers the innovative spirit of the music

and the ideals of The Gathering itself. Clearly, bright moments lie ahead.

--MIMI MELNICK

*For details, go to The Gathering website at www.thegatheringwebsite.net