Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Leaders

  • Mudfoot [BlackHawk, 1986] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Mudfoot [BlackHawk, 1986]
Opening with a glorious and playful 13-minute blues and closing with a sweet and crooked "Cupid" that Chico Freeman sings and some college-radio wiseass should claim, this all-star blowing unit gets arty in between and also gets away with it. By arty I mean Art Ensemble or maybe just AACM: several tunes where all the hook and half the pulse is a bass part that's more ostinato than rhythm line, plus a lyrically desultory duet between main man Arthur Blythe and weak link Kirk Lightsey and a group improv that grows out of Lester Bowie's mute. Familiar gambits all by now, but this kind of execution is what everybody who begins with them is hoping to end up with. A-