Somnambule - Writing About Music

Burnt Sugar, The Arkestra Chamber ~Not April In Paris, Live 01 at Banlieues Blues

There’s a children’s story that serves as an apt metaphor for Greg Tate’s conduction of NYC big band, Burnt Sugar. In The Magic Paintbrush a child’s pictures come magically to life as they’re painted. Similarly each of Tate’s gestures (one of 22 movements defined by Butch Morris) draws forth vivid technicolour music, as if out of thin air. In liner notes, interviews and most importantly in the music itself it’s possible to spy Tate’s continuing wonder at this technique. Not April In Paris is a concert recording made during Burnt Sugar’s recent venture to Europe and represents the first of three planned live recordings. The 11 new forms birthed at this particular concert travel the gamut between driving funkadelica, sawing ambience and sweeping meditation. At times the music’s denser than a dark, dark forest and its only certainty is uncertainty. This reviewer’s impatience for the group to return to UK shores can be taken as read.
Colin Buttimer
October 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine