Ted Daniel: Ted Daniel Sextet (2006)
Fragile fragments and brittle smears make up much of the trumpet's language in creative music, and the 1970s saw an influx of important voices on the instrument, expanding on the innovations of their reed-playing brethren. Among them were Earl Cross, Raphe Malik, Eddie Gale, Butch Morris and Ted Daniel, a childhood friend of Sonny Sharrock who made his first appearance on the guitarist's Vortex LP Black Woman (specifically, the staggering "Portrait of Linda in Three Colors, All Black ).
Daniel worked in the '70s with drummer Andrew Cyrille (check their amazing duo on the 1976 IPS LP Junction), as well as saxophonists Dewey Redman and Sam Rivers; he also led massive-sounding small groups of his own, released by his own Ujamaa imprint and the French Sun label. His phrases are bright and direct, their vocal smears and guttural wails never without grounding in the language of what he's saying. Sometimes, as on "Pagan Spain and "O.C., Daniel creates sounds not unlike a conch or a flute; he would later expand on his colorful brass vocabulary by adding an electronic pitch-divider to his instrumental palette.
Ujamaa 1001 was recorded in 1970 in a concert spotlighting Daniel's band with Cleveland altoist Otis Harris, bassists Hakim Jami and Richard Pierce (the latter appeared on Black Woman as well), and drummers Kenneth Hughes and Warren Benbow on three Daniel originals. This reissue augments the proceedings with two of Harris' compositions, "The Kicker and "Otis' Song. "Congratulations begins with a full call-to-arms, ducking and diving into a lilting and somber Latin fragment, which is summarily taken over by Daniel's steely, darting bravura as he rides atop furious percussive tone-fields. Harris' statement begins almost plaintively, building into bent Eastern-tinged phrases, biting and repetitivea cross between Carlos Ward, Sonny Simmons and Roscoe Mitchell.
An unaccompanied bass duet of contrasting murk and deftness leads into "Pagan Spain, a sandy and windblown dirge of airy power. "O.C. begins with a simple, singsong melody only to delve into a hot wall of multiphonics amid thrashing skin, wood and string. Harris' two compositions are lengthy free bop breakdowns. "Otis' Song is the standout of the two, with a particularly rousing solo by the altoist, while Jami's pizzicato (which has graced the bands of Sun Ra and Philly Joe Jones, to name just two) and arco are given ample room to stretch.
Though Ted Daniel's recorded pedigree among post-D.C. trumpeters is significant and his insightful contributions to the literature of the music are equally strong (he is a frequent source in Valerie Wilmer's As Serious As Your Life), very little of his early work has made it to CD. We can be thankful that his leader-debut is now available again in the digital age.
Track Listing: Congratulations; Pagan Spain; O.C.; The Kicker; Otis' Song.
Personnel: Ted Daniel: trumpet, flugelhorn, Moroccan bugle, French hunting horn, percussion; Otis Harris: alto saxophone; Hakim Jami: bass; Richard Pierce: bass; Warren Benbow: drums; Kenneth Hughes: drums.