Orange Fish Tears


In 1972, trumpeter Baikida Carroll and some of his colleagues from the Black Artists Group (more precisely saxophonist/flutist Oliver Lake, trombonist Joseph Bowie, drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw and trumpeter Floyd LeFlore) took the advice of their friends in the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and left their native Missouri to come and discover the bright lights of Paris for themselves. The following year they would even get the chance to record their only album which would rapidly attain mythical status and a collector's item: In Paris, Aries 1973. Therefore, it was not surprising that they crossed paths with Jef Gilson, who offered Baikida Carroll the chance to record his first album under his own name. Carroll logically asked Oliver Lake to join him. He also recruited Manuel Villaroel, a young Franco-Chilien pianist from the group Matchi-Oul, who had already released an album on Futura in 1971 and would release another on Palm in 1976. The group was completed with the addition of Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, who had just released a well-received album on the Saravah label. The first side of the album is divided into two long tracks which send free jazz back to its long-lost African roots. The opener "Orange Fish Tears" indeed rolls out a jungle of percussion of all sorts and sizes -- the whole group is involved -- which weave and mix together reaching a point where all bearings are lost, lending a sense of wonder to the majestic entry of the brass and woodwinds, flying suddenly out from the undergrowth. "Forest Scorpion" (sic) is a real voodoo ceremony where a venomous percussive groove backs the fiery solos from keyboards and saxophone in a furious trance. The other side is more introspective. Deliberately using dissonance and repetition, "Rue Roger" -- the only composition by Oliver Lake -- in a long dialogue between trumpet and saxophone, could almost remind us of Terry Riley in his favorite ballpark. "Porte D'Orléans", the fourth and final track on the album, has the group back to their old tricks in a long hallucinatory jam which owes as much to the contemporary music of György Ligetias to the most angst-ridden Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack music. With these two sides, and in under 45m, Baikida Carroll and his musicians show just what they can do, from cerebral to charnel without ever simplifying things. RIYL: Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sonic Youth, Shabaka Hutchings, and Rob Mazurek.