More than one critic rated Nine to Get Ready as amongst the best discs of 1999 and with good reason. Saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and his eight piece Note Factory played music in this May 1997 session that both provokes an immediate reaction and remains difficult to grasp.
There are a variety of sounds here. A tribute to the now deceased Lester Bowie called simply "For Lester" has a warm tone that makes it quite comforting. Other tunes such as "Hop Hip Bip Bir Rip" and "Bessie Harris" are up-tempo blowing sessions. For the most part, however, the music follows the lead of Leola," the opener, which is unsettling but also very meditative. Pianists Matthew Shipp and Craig Taborn are crucial to this feel even though they largely play accompaniment. At their best, such as "Dream and Response," the two players create a layered sound that sounds more like the projection of one instrument than two.
Don’t take this music too seriously though. The album ends with short and funky number called "Big Red Peaches" that features only a groove. After over 50 minutes of serious and thought provoking music, it is a wonderful pie in the face.