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Marc Ribot, Roy Campbell, Henry Grimes, Chad Taylor 

Spiritual Unity

Wednesday, Aug 10 2005
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Marc Ribot is the postmodern guitarist. From crusty garage rock to graceful classical, sculpted white noise to sultry Afro-Cuban grooviness, the New York native is a master of myriad musical forms and a slave to none. But Ribot's distinction lies less in his chameleonic skills than in the way he bends pure melody into any rhythmic pattern. He can deconstruct, reinterpret, and reconfigure a song's central motifs at any given moment without ever losing the compositional through-line. Nowhere in Ribot's discography is this more evident than on Spiritual Unity, an extraordinary tribute to the late free-jazz pioneer Albert Ayler. Performing classic tunes like "Spirits," "Saints," and "Bells" with trumpeter Roy Campbell, drummer Chad Taylor, and bassist Henry Grimes (an Ayler co-conspirator in the music's heyday in the '60s), the guitarist resurrects the energy of Ayler's full-throttle vision while reveling in every nuanced contour of the folk-derived melodies. The result is a bent, beautiful shout-out to a controversial jazz legend and a testament to the value of the circuitous path.

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Sam Prestianni

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