Weekly Wire
The Boston Phoenix India Cook


By Ed Hazell

OCTOBER 13, 1997:  Violinist India Cook's first album as a leader is a loose-knit blowing session full of spontaneity and camaraderie. She's no neophyte: she's played in the Sun Ra Arkestra, and with John Zorn and Cecil Taylor. And she's no stranger to her bandmates: bassist Lisle Ellis, saxophonist Larry Ochs, and drummer Donald Robinson have all played with her previously. They're joined by trombonist George Lewis, an experienced improviser who's comfortable in any setting.

Together the quintet weave complex group improvisations, interject spontaneous horn riffs to goad one another on, and display individual brilliance and intensity. Cook's violin is steeped in the blues, yet she spikes her solos on the modal "6/23" and the hypnotically grooving "Logan's Reel" with sharp, percussive chords, sweeping glissandos, and fragmented phrases that give it a sense of adventure. On "Ra Storm," she proves to be an uncommonly sensitive ensemble improviser, too. It all adds up to one of the year's best debuts.

-- Ed Hazell

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