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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ensemble On Form, 19 Feb 2004
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A fine ‘twofer’ from the early Parisian days of the Ensemble, it combines one of their most accessible records – Les Stances a Sophie, with one of their more challenging and brilliant efforts – People in Sorrow. Les Stances was written as a film soundtrack and is enhanced on its longest track by the blues vocalist Fontella Bass. People in Sorrow, consisting of just two long tracks, is a typical Ensemble mixture of percussion and free form blowing. It succeeds beautifully in evoking what the title suggests. This record is brilliant value – highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great AEof C -in Paris.but not 5 stars.., 31 Dec 2012
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the other two reviews are variously very good in conveying the joy that is listening again to arguably the most underrated group in modern jazz - the Art Ensemble of Chicago, here taken from Paris sessions in 1969 + 70.

firstly the positive - the first 6 tracks are variously funky, free, fun, wild, instrospective, afro-experimental as the AEofC play a dazzling range of adventurous post-bop free-ish, afrocentric/avant jazz. that's quite a wide category i know,but with messrs Bowie,Roscoe,Mitchell et al - it just about fits. such was their breadth of vision + exploratory playing.

the first track alone the now posthumous "hit" on youtube + in more discerning bars,is the fantastic groove laden track "theme de yoyo" with the sadly just passed away singer Fontella Bass. this track lays down a groove that James Brown,Bootsy etc would be proud of with soulful ms.Bass make this track alone - a certifiable essential piece of jazz/soul crossover monster. that good yes.

tracks 2-6 are variously - as described in the first paragraph - a tour de force of the finest elements of later AEofC releases such as the ECM era "full force" etc : adventurous,fun,swing/free-ish nuggets of post-bop jazz. marvellous.

the negative for me is the final 40 minutes taken up by the decidely rambling ,almost zen like minimal avant-gardish "people in sorrow" that really doesnt go anywhere. the track from "magg zelma" from the 1984 lp "full force" is a similar, yet a more focused version .

sound quality is first rate, booklet notes are informative + for less than 8 to you door - well worth your money. for the adventurous out there wishing to go beyond Duke,Mingus,Marsalis. genius - but flawed genius all the same.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two classics from Americans abroad, 6 Dec 2012
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This single-disc releases brings together two classic late-Sixties recordings (Les Stances à Sophie and People in Sorrow) by the Art Ensemble from the period of furious creativity when they were resident in Paris. There's everything here, from free-form wig-out fusion to baroque counterpoint.
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