Untempered Ensemble (2011)


The performance of this CD was part of an event at Syracuse University entitled 'The Artists' Response to the Symbolism of the Election of Barack Obama.' I was very excited about this performance #73 because I am 73, and I never expected an African American to be elected President of the United States of America in my lifetime. I had seen and experienced too much racism to think that was ever possible. It was for this reason that I created a composition with lyrics based on the proverb 'A Man of outstanding qualities is preeminent among his comrades,' which comes from the oral tradition of the Yorubas of Nigeria. 

The second piece of the program, 'Poverty is the father of fear,' is also a proverb from the Yorubas of Nigeria. It was first performed live at the Vision Festival in New York City in June, 2009. These proverbs are part of a collection of 500 Yoruba proverbs given to me by Professor Fela Sowande. I have been writing music based on these proverbs since 1983. 

Warren Smith introduced me to the traditional Persian melody [Hamsavazi e tonbak o nay], which I rearranged for the Untempered Ensemble. This piece was also first performed live at the Vision Festival in June, 2009. 

This CD features the first time that I have used a vocalist in my recorded works. I hope you will enjoy the performance as much as we enjoyed performing it.

Recorded live in the Black Box Theater of Syracuse University and released in 2011, this self-titled album marks the seventh work released by Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble. It features Bill Cole on the Chinese suona, Korean hojok, Korean piri, Indian nadaswaram, shehnai, Tibetan trumpet, Australian didgeridoo and Ghanaian flute. It also features master percussionist Warren Smith (percussion & glockenspiel), Joe Daley (euphonium& tuba), son Atticus Cole (hand drums & percussion), Shayna Dulberger (acoustic bass) and Ras Moshe (tenor saxophone) and daughter Althea SullyCole (vocals).


Bill Cole, a multicultural multi-instrumentalist, is one of the guys at the top of the hierarchy in the improvised music scene, having been at it in earnest since at least the late 70s.... [T]his performance by the Untempered Ensemble at the Vision Festival continues a tradition started nearly twenty years ago by Cole, putting together performers both young and old, established and up-and-coming, to forge music representing Bill Cole’s singular vision of Eastern and African enhanced jazz.”

— S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews

My most recent review of Bill Cole’s works was in issue # 115, where he & his compatriots got a fine rating… this outing (live again) has them playing at Syracuse U (September, 2009), & again they are in fine form. A new aspect on this performance is the addition of vocal works by Althea SullyCole (a first for Bill)… they are skillfully woven into the power-packed (& long) sessions! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find sound samples (or YOUTUBE vids), so you’ll just have to rely on my ears… my absolute favorite track (clocking in at 21:48), was “A Man Of Outstanding Quality Is Preeminent Among His Comrades”… it runs the whole circuit… slow build, intimate percussion and wonderful vocals. The thing to remember about music from Bill & compatriots is that it is NOT “pop” music… you must actually LISTEN to this to comprehend it… in that sense, it get my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, especially for folks who want some ADVENTURE in their listening experience. I give it an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.”

— Dick Metacalf, Zzaj Productions