Black Diamond: Furniture Of the Mind Rearranging

Vinyl | 27,00 

2LP black vinyl, gatefold sleeve.

We Jazz 2024



Chicago’s Black Diamond debuts on We Jazz Records with their new album Furniture Of the Mind Rearranging on 5th July. Co-led by Artie Black and Hunter Diamond (composers, saxophones, and other woodwinds), Black Diamond appears in both quartet and duo formations. The first three album sides present the quartet, complete with long standing band members Matt Ulery (double bass) and Neil Hemphill (drums), under the heading Furniture Of the Mind. The remaining two tracks on side D fall under the title The Mind Rearranging, with Black and Diamond presenting a meditative duo encounter of two tenor saxophones.

Furniture Of the Mind Rearranging is an assemblage of new compositions and improvisations that develop the band’s established sound and exemplify the way in which this band folds into the Chicago creative music community. The quartet traverses their familiar aesthetic ranges between driving off-kilter groove, plaintive minimalism, and intimate chamber music, with the ever-present spirit of small-group jazz and a hovering influence of Chicago’s improvised music culture. And while this collection represents three previous albums and more than a decade of close kinship and artistic evolution between co-leaders Black and Diamond, neither are too precious about any one element on the album. This is very simply the latest work in what continues to be an expanding body work founded on a guiding principle: cultivation without expectation.

Starting right from album opener “Carrying the Stick”, Black Diamond shares new music that’s immediately engaging. Lean instrumentation with plenty of space, potent groove-based experimentalism and a sense of meditative introspection live effortlessly side by side in the band’s work. This is music left of the timeline, topical through belonging on a much broader continuum rather than anything specifically “current” and short-lived. While marinated in the foundational concepts of creative music and Chicago’s rich musical tradition, Black Diamond is not afraid to search new paths in their music.

“Zoetic,” related to vitality and the nature of living things, was composed by Diamond for the occasion of an interdisciplinary exposition (of the same name) hosted at Elastic Arts Foundation in Chicago. At this event, the band celebrated the release of new music, visual artist Marine Tempels opened a show of new paintings in the visual gallery, and the entire venue was decorated by a local botanic artist. The composition was inspired by previous live improvised duos between Black and Diamond, including a particularly exploratory performance at the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival. The two-tenor intro uses a cyclical round to integrate the rest of the band, and then unfolds into a plaintive but bolstered melody.

“Say to Yourself” epitomizes Black Diamond’s flexibility, moving with a sense of inevitability between danceable grooves and abstracted improvisation. On this track the band develops material collaboratively, speaking a shared language born out of a decade of growth as an ensemble. The main theme of the piece emphasizes the distinctive blend of Black and Diamond’s tenors, unfolded through rhythmic layering and permutation often evident in Black’s compositional voice.

The two long form duo improvisations “Mycelium” and “Motor Neurons” that make up The Mind Rearranging teem with visual prompts and miniature tone-poems. In this instance, the music takes a leap forward as a stark two-saxophone dialogue reminiscent of the austere and nuanced duo recordings of BAG (Black Artists Group) saxophonists Oliver Lake and Julius Hemphill’s Buster Bee or the title track of AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Anthony Braxton’s Together Alone.

The four sides with two formations flow together in a natural way, forming an idiosyncratic musical entity that is sure to grow with each new spin on the turntable.

Paino 460 g (gramma)



Mint (M)