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Speak Easy by Raphe Malik

Trumpeter Raphe Malik has been a mainstay in the free and avant-garde jazz scenes for nearly thirty years now. Malik came to prominence in the 1970’s through work with Cecil Taylor, namely Taylor’s critically acclaimed "Cecil Taylor Unit" in 1978. Since then, Malik has led his own group and has worked often in the company of the late avant-garde saxophonist Glenn Spearman. He also participated in the 1995 recreation of John Coltrane’s legendary "Ascension" performance, led by the avant-garde saxophone quartet ROVA.

"Speak Easy" is Malik’s first and only solo trumpet release. Malik is the only performer on this CD, and there is no multi-tracking or overdubbing. The music consists of solo trumpet lines built on riffs and original themes. Malik’s performances are angular in nature, quickly morphing from blues and swing riffs to complex flurries of sixteenth notes. A quiet passage may suddenly burst forth in a shower of notes from the horn’s upper register. Both Malik’s lengthy playing career and physical endurance contribute to the technical achievements of this recording.

Being a disciple of both Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, Malik’s compositions and improvising will not be to everyone’s taste. Because there is no rhythm section, the form of the pieces is somewhat hard to follow, and the listener is dependent on Malik to define the entire context of the piece. But if you are a fan of free jazz, then this CD would certainly be worth considering for your collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Raphe Malik
  • CD Title: Speak Easy
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Le Systeme
  • Tracks: Avenue D, Bell, Odds Out, Good Graces, Cruise Control, Abstract, Float School, Mystery of Human, Tone Row
  • Musicians: Raphe Malik, solo trumpet
  • Rating: Two Stars
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