[amazing picture (and introduction) by Ganavya Doraiswamy]
I was so happy to meet the brilliant Wadada Leo Smith this last Friday evening! In Los Angeles to support his recent ECM release with Vijay Iyer, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (2016), the duo played to a nearly capacity crowd at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall.
Smith and Iyer (trumpet and piano/Fender Rhodes respectively) played a full set without stops, accompanied by an atmospheric third voice (a recorded track) that filled out a greater sonic landscape while informing the structure of the performance. The set was a varied, moving, sensitively textured work (Wadada’s sweat reminding us that it is indeed work) that, though exploring many seeming atonal sonic worlds, brought listeners to a tonal, reassuring finale. It was a beautiful performance and a receptive audience who responded with a standing ovation.
Wadada even signed my copy of Divine Love (ECM 1978). Such an inspiring night!