Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The Revolutionary Ensemble was a music cooperative of three individuals who sought to combine the most unlikely of elements within their musical approach. Shying away from the overused jazz instrumentation that required a saxophone, they consisted of merely a violin, stand up bass, and a percussionist. Replacing a mere beat with that of a pulse displayed a group schooled in the classical; there was a playful interaction that occurred between the violin and the bass that left plenty of wangling room for the improvisational sense of Jenkins' violin-playing.
The band was quite popular in the 1970s and considered to be an indispensible element within the free jazz continuum. Leroy Jenkins had once performed with Anthony Braxton and this past association led him to experiment with new textures of sound in instrumentation used in the jazz context. He was considered to be the father of the free jazz violin. Sirone had performed with Pharoah Sanders and Gato Barbieri. While Jerome Cooper had recently played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
They got back together again in 2004 and their first performance was still staggering to behold. For an account of the performance, click here. Unfortunately, the death of Jenkins in February 2007 prevented any further work from being recorded. The last album released was recorded in 2004. Check it out here.
Listen to the first LP.
Listen to Fresh Air's review of the Revolutionary Ensemble.