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Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Wadada Leo Smith's Mbira

Dark Lady of the Sonnets (TUM)

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Wadada Leo Smith came out of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Music in the 1960s and soon established himself alongside Anthony Braxton and Leroy Jenkins at the forefront of free jazz. Detroit percussionist Pheeroan akLaff has a similar background, having played with Smith, Don Byron, Oliver Lake and Henry Threadgill. On Dark Lady of the Sonnets, the longtime partners collaborate with pica player Min Xiao-Fen, known in New York improv circles for applying her classical training on the Chinese lute to sessions with John Zorn and Derek Bailey. The Far East twang of her instrument couples with African-inspired drumming and trumpeting abstracted from the jazz tradition for an excursion into cerebral sonic regions.