by Florence Wetzel – All About Jazz New York, July 2006
With musicians this strong, you simply can’t go wrong
Prophecies Come to Pass is the debut recording of Sabir Mateen’s compositions by his group The Shapes, Textures, and Sound Ensemble. Recorded live in Brooklyn in September 2005, the CD was edited by Mateen and Swell and mastered under Mateen’s direction. It's dedicated to the late great Raphe Malik, who at one time played with the group.
The ensemble is composed of an impressive roster of creative musicians: Mateen on saxes, flute, and clarinets; Matt Lavelle on trumpet, flugelhorn and cornet; Steve Swell on trombone; Matthew Heyner on bass; and Michael T.A. Thompson on drums and percussion. With musicians this strong, you simply can’t go wrong: they have decades of experience under their belts, and they’re guided by the venerable Mateen, one of the modern masters of creative music.
The highlights include “Sekasso Blues,” a wonderful mix of classic blues imbued with the group’s completely modern sensibility. The front line of Mateen, Lavelle and Swell is red-hot here, and the song is a delight of old and new structures playing together freely. “The Beauty Within” is a treat for the ears: Mateen plays strong and lovely flute, and there’s a great duet between Heyner and Thompson. “Prophecies Come to Pass,” an eighteen-minute epic poem, allows all the musicians to shine as they explore the point of breakdown/breakthrough. The horns are majestic and powerful, often reaching spine-tingling heights, and there are more Heyner and Thompson duets.
What makes this music so compelling is that the musicians are not afraid to explore primal depths of sound and energy. Their commitment and passion is inspiring—no one in this group is living a life of quiet desperation. The music points to life lived fully, with all its questions, struggles and heights.
Track listing: Sekasso Blues; The Beauty Within; Everyone’s Got Something To Say; Prophecies Come To Pass; Sentimentally; Children Of The CREATOR.
Personnel: Sabir Mateen: tenor and alto saxophones, flute, Bb and alto clarinets; Matt Lavelle: trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet; Steve Swell: trombone; Matthew Heyner: bass; Michael T.A. Thompson: drums, percussion.