Trance Grooves

Claude Delcloo / Arthur Jones
BYG/Actuel : 1969

Claude Delcloo, drums; Arthur Jones, alto sax; Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Kenneth Terroade, flutes; Clifford Thornton, conga; Malachi Favors, log-drum; Earl Freeman, gong, bell, percussion.

Africanasia, the two words run together to indicate both the seamless intermeshing of musical influences and the overall flow of the album, a continuous piece that took up two sides in 1969 but inevitably would have been one unbroken composition in the digital age–

Africanasia, one of the more overlooked titles from the legendary BYG/Actuel free jazz label, never released on CD despite being one of the most sheerly beautiful and accessible offerings, a gentle tune built on the ebb and flow of trance-like rhythms, the repetition and variations of a plaintive melody, a simple sonic tapestry expertly woven into an undulating series of complex pleasures–

Africanasia, one of the precious few albums to feature the saxophonist Arthur Jones whose BYG/Actuel release Scorpio is a longtime favorite of ours, which also features Claude Delcloo on drums, and while it would be easy to consider this simply another Arthur Jones joint and ignore Delcloo’s top billing, the astute Burning Ambulance points out it could also be seen as a fugitive Art Ensemble of Chicago album since it features the band’s key members of the time save Lester Bowie, though the issue is further complicated by the contributions of Clifford Thornton and Kenneth Terroade, so maybe better to consider the record a fabulous one-off, never to be repeated, the river that can’t be bathed in twice–

Africanasia, maybe more a state of mind, a sense of surrender to both the grooves within the track and the pace at which the music chooses to reveal itself, a conscious slowing down in order to better live in its continual unfurling of sound, to appreciate the gorgeous a capella sax solo by Jones, the seductively trilling trio of flutes which predict Dave Holland’s “Conference of the Birds,” the exoticism which seems so utterly familiar, the track which demands to be played, then repeated, then played, then–


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