ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO-LES STANCES A SOPHIE.

Art Ensemble of Chicago-Les Stances A Sophie.

Label: Soul Jazz Records.

There aren’t many groups that are still going strong after fifty years, but that is the case with the avant-garde jazz group the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Their roots can be traced to the Advancement of Creative Musicians which was , founded in Chicago in 1965, Three years  later, in 1968, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell,  Joseph Jarman  and Malachi Favors decided to form a new group in 1968 which they called the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

By 1969, the Art Ensemble of Chicago had left the Windy City behind and headed to Paris, France where they became a truly prolific group. Between 1969 and 1971 the Art Ensemble of Chicago the recording studio was like their second home, and sometimes they were joined by musicians of the caliber of Archie Shepp and Don Cherry. Other times, the Art Ensemble of Chicago were joined by Sunny Murray and Andrew Braxton in the recording studio. However, when they recorded their first soundtrack album Les Stances A Sophie, which has just been reissued by Soul Jazz Records, it was just the six members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago that made their way to the studio.

On July ’22nd’ 1970, the members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago made their way to Pathé Marconi studio in Boulogne, France where they were to record the soundtrack to Les Stances A Sophie. This was a French film directed by Moshé Mizrahi, which was due out later in 1970.

There was no time to spare as all the members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago had only two weeks left on their visa. This meant that the Art Ensemble of Chicago had to work quickly. The lineup featured Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Fontella Bass and Don Moy. They had written seven new compositions for the soundtrack to Les Stances A Sophie. and covered Theme de Yoyo by Noreen Beasley. These eight tracks became the soundtrack to Les Stances A Sophie.

By the time Les Stances A Sophie was released by Pathé Records later in 1970, the Art Ensemble of Chicago had returned home as their latest album was released to widespread critical acclaim. That was no surprise as it was an ambitious and innovative album of genre-melting music.

Throughout Les Stances A Sophie the Art Ensemble of Chicago flitted between and fused elements  avant-garde jazz, bop, free jazz, improv, Nu-Dixieland and pounding, pulsating R&B. The Art Ensemble of Chicago combine braying, blistering saxophone solos while Malachi Favors’ walking bass and Don Moye’s drums and percussion play a leading role in the sound and success of the soundtrack. So does Fontella Bass’ searing vocal as it cuts through the multilayered genre-melting arrangements on Les Stances A Sophie’s eight track which closes with Proverbes No. 2.

Critics hailed Les Stances A Sophie a landmark release, and an avant-garde classic. It was certainly the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s finest hour of their fifty year career.

Les Stances A Sophie is certainly one their most ambitious and innovative albums that the Art Ensemble of Chicago have released over the past six decades. Not only is Les Stances A Sophie regarded as an avant-garde classic, but one orb the greatest jazz albums of the past fifty years. One listen to Les Stances A Sophie and that will become apparent as the Art Ensemble of Chicago showcase their ability to innovate and creative groundbreaking music that was way ahead of its time.

Art Ensemble of Chicago-Les Stances A Sophie.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: