Doug Schulkind's
Sound Mind

Requiem for a Heavy Lester Bowie

I first saw the Art Ensemble of Chicago sometime around 1980. Lester the court jester held everything together: A wide stage littered with literally dozens of "little" instruments; the sound--at first riotous and raunchy, then sweet and swoonful--tuneful explosions set off by the vividly African-face-painted fivesome. Everpresent in the center of it all, grabbing your eyes by the balls amid all the visual cacaphony and musical chiropracty, was that damn white coat. The doctor is IN, mutherfucka! There, standing firm in the swirling surroundsound was Lester, squeezing out those hysterical blurt-flurt-turts and hyper-serious blaaaaaaaaats and heart-melting dum-deelya-dew-dahs; every note he played, a rock-solid reminder of the tender mortal race the whole spaced-out mess had come from in the first place.

The firmament awaits, Mr. Bowie...

Doug Schulkind
(Check out my Sound Mind)