THE NEW, eponymous album by jazz trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah and the Solomonic Quintet is something of a rarity these days, a recording that's at once accessible and adventurous.
An abundance of tuneful, jaunty, haunting and earthy themes accounts for the album's instant appeal, while the quintet's piano-less lineup and world beat thrust give it a decidedly exotic edge. Even so, what's likely to first attract the attention of dedicated jazz fans are the contributors. Besides Abdullah, an occasional Sun Ra collaborator who often favors a relaxed, pungent tone, both muted and open, there's David S. Ware, the former sideman for Cecil Taylor and Andrew Cyrille, on saxophone and the high-pitched stritch sax; Decoding Society guitarist Masujaa; and the exceptionally supple teamwork of bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Charles Moffett.
The latter pair are responsible for not only making Abdullah's arrangement of the traditional Brazilian chant "Canto II" utterly entrancing, but they also vigorously underpin and punctuate the feisty horn play and sparring that distinguishes "Gypsy Lady." Not every track rises to the same level, but the album's highlights, including an exultant sax and guitar-driven performance of "The Dance We Do," easily compensate for its occasional shortcomings.
AHMED ABDULLAH AND THE SOLOMONIC QUINTET -- "Ahmed Abdullah and the Solomonic Quintet" (Silkheart). Abdullah will perform Saturday with Masujaa, Fred Hopkins, Charles Moffett, saxophonist Carlos Ward and violinist Billy Bang at d.c. space.