Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Conjure [American Clavé, 1984] A-
  • Bad Mouth [American Clavé, 2006] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Conjure [American Clavé, 1984]
Ishmael Reed or no Ishmael Reed, to hear Taj Mahal, David Murray, and Allen Toussaint playing not alongside but with one another is really something. Thank Murray for his virtuosic atavism on the smartly paced blues side, and Mahal for his progressive heart on the more desultory jazz side. Thank Steve Swallow and Billy Hart for their humble shuffles. And then hail Ishmael Reed, whose pan-Afro-American modernism was the occasion of these miracles. Nothing like an oral tradition to make written words sing. A-

Bad Mouth [American Clavé, 2006]
The return of polycultural prophet Kip Hanrahan, starring Ishmael Reed and some funky jazzmen ("In War Such Things Happen," "Bad Mouth"). ***

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