Celebrating their 50th anniversary and first release in 15 years with ‘We Are On The Edge’, Roscoe Mitchell’s ensemble paid homage to its founding members as well as featuring special guest soloists, including Junius Paul, Tomeka Reid, Shabaka Hutchings and Abel Selaocoe.

The orchestra played compositions from throughout their existence such as the bongos and Hutchings’ frenzied saxophone piece, ‘Saturday Morning’, before Mitchell did his distressed baritone saxophone solo in ‘The Flow Of Things’.

They then moved onto another of percussionist Famoudou Don Moye’s compositions, with Paul’s creeping double bass and Moye’s drums in ‘Tutankhmun’, which was followed by the warm, African vocals of guest cellist Salaocoe in ‘Malachi Favors’.

The ensemble ended their main set on Moye’s laid-back brassy jazz piece, ‘City Cif Nepne’, with Mitchell announcing all the members before leaving the stage and returning for an encore of ‘Funky Aeco’.

23/11/19: The Art Ensemble Of Chicago @ Barbican, London.

Photos © Mark Allen/Barbican.

© Ayisha Khan.