Saxophonist David Murray continues his cross genre initiatives on this undeniably exciting, 2003 release Now Is Another Time. With this effort, the artist enlists his longtime running mates, trumpeter Hugh Ragin and baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett to complement a huge cast of Cuban musicians. This large ensemble Latin jazz extravaganza packs a mighty blow, from beginning to end. Here, the band churns out radiant, multi-layered horn arrangements atop the Cuban masters' sweltering percussion grooves and the soloists' blaring exchanges.
In 1970 or thereabouts, Cage wrote his Song Books, a collection of 90 vocal/theater pieces. Solo for Voice 58, from the Song Books, amounts to a collection of pitches upon which the vocalist can improvise, and include microtones. From this raw material are derived the "18 Microtonal Ragas", and this is a fascinating and often beautiful album. The vocalist, Amelia Cuni, is nothing short of amazing as she puts forth a virtuosic performance in conjunction with three other musicians on electronics/drones and percussion. While this could have amounted to mere chinoiserie, the musical instincts of Cuni and her colleagues, along with the freedom afforded by Cage himself, make this a very individual and wonderful composition, one which acknowledges the influence of Eastern musics without imitating them for the sake of cheap imitation.