Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer “A Divine Courage”_Ear Worms

Throughout A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke, Vijay Iyer evokes a mood for each piece and Wadada Leo Smith achieves specificity through the implication of his brilliantly phrased melodies.  On “A Divine Courage,” the mood created by the pulsating, low-pitched bass line puts Smith in a tense, wide-open space.  Smith’s impeccable ability to completely change his persona for each situation presented to him shines through perfectly as his phrasing builds and builds, constantly succeeding at pulling the audience closer.  Iyer’s eerie chord selections accompany the overarching thematic points furthering the impact of Smith’s leadership.

The dramatic nine minutes maintain cohesion with the high level of communication between the two musicians and flowing phrase structure.  Every line is so well decided that it is almost as if Wadada Leo Smith is reading a speech.  He begins with simple points then leading into riskier territories before making his closing arguments.  His 40+ year career has made him incredibly good at getting his point across and his uncanny knack for modernity has kept his fans guessing with each album he puts out.

DB

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