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Below, you'll find a compilation of all album reviews done by local KIOS jazz and blues staff.

Last Call Record Review: Lakecia Benjamin/Pursuance: The Coltranes/Ropeadope Records

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Lakecia Benjamin, a rising star on the jazz scene, has recently released a tribute record to John and Alice Coltrane. It is quite a revelation. Her recording is Pursuance: The Coltanes and it is a powerful experience of inspired performances. 

Propelled by an all-star band of some of the finest jazz artists in the business, the album is a real treat. Guests include legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Ron Carter, and others. For the centerpiece of the recording, guests Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals and Abiodum Oyeale on spoken word collaborate with Benjamin for the centerpiece of the entire disc, "Acknowledgement". Amazingly, the song gives the listener a direct experience of the innermost essence of sacred jazz music. 

 
 
 
Highlights of the recording include: "Liberia", "Walk With Me", "Syeeda's Song Flute", "Om Shanti", "Acknowledgement" and "Turiya and Ramikrishna".

 
 

Lakecia Benjamin is an alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader. Benjamin has worked with many of the luminaries in jazz including Clark Terry, Reggie Workman, Rashied Ali, Vanessa Rubin and James 'Blood" Ulmer. As a leader, Benjamin fronts Lakecia Benjaim and Soul Squad, which fuses jazz,hiphop and soul into an immediately accessible, danceable groove.

Benjamin's focus on John and Alice Coltrane points towards their immense impact on the "Free" Jazz movement of the 1960s. This movement towards free jazz, especially motivated by sacred concerns, was announced to the world on John Coltrane’s Meditations CD which opened with the profound religious statement of “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost". Alice Coltrane joined the band shortly thereafter as the pianist after McCoy Tyner left the Coltrane organization. In live performances John and Alice Coltrane and noted bandmates such as Pharoah Sanders and Rashied Ali went on to take the music into fearless and bold expressions of inspired, profound sacred free jazz, only equalled by the acclaimed saxophonist Albert Ayler(who was a friend of John Coltrane).

 
For more information you may visit www.lakeciabenjamin.com

Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.
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