Other Dimensions in Music is one of the greatest groups in New York jazz. For decades, this fully improvising ensemble—Roy Campbell on trumpet, Daniel Carter on saxophones, William Parker on bass and Charles Downs (formerly Rashid Bakr) on drums—have been playing an exploratory, humanist form of free jazz that eschews fire and fury in favor of an introspective joy that’s unique not only on the New York scene, but in the larger world of music. Their discography’s pretty slim, considering the talent concentrated among the four members—a 1990 self-titled debut album; 1998’s Now! and 2002’s Time is of the Essence/The Essence is Beyond Time (with Matthew Shipp guesting); 2011’s Kaiso Stories, with vocalist Fay Victor; and a 2007 double CD, Live at the Sunset, on which Downs was temporarily replaced by Hamid Drake. Everything they’ve done is worth hearing, and Now! is, frankly, criminally overlooked—it’s one of the best jazz records of the 1990s, a life-changer.
Anyway, that’s all an introduction to set you up for this kick-ass video of the group playing at Clemente Soto Velez in NYC on April 5. Enjoy 20 minutes of pure awesomeness.
I was confused by the reference to “formerly Rashid Bakr”. Didn’t realize he was the same person as Charles Downs… looking it up, I see Downs was the name he was born with. When did he go back to it, do you know?
A few years ago, I believe – sometime in the early 2000s, but I’m not exactly sure.