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EXCLUSIVE! FIRST-EVER DIGITAL RELEASE ANYWHERE! (FMP/SAJ-45) http://www.fmp-label.de/freemusicproduction/labelscatalog/saj45.html . United Front's swansong is their finest album - and a real rarity, too. The group proved ahead of their time and their thoughtful infusion of funk rhythms, dramatic flourishes, and hardy melodies into a shifting and adventurous free jazz framework had many critics calling them "sell outs." Hardly. This record traffics in sturdy pleasures that sound riveting today. Think vintage Art Ensemble of Chicago and you're partway there.
"With Live In Berlin United Front makes the transition from a well-versed unit with a local/regional following to an internationally recognized barometer of American sensibilities. More than their previous self-produced efforts, Live in Berlin infuses the innovations of the past two decades with a folkloric sweep; the funky strut inserted into the Colemanesque "Talking in Tongues" points up United Front’s frequent use of juxtaposition to this end. The “home” of "Back Home Again" may have been homesteaded by Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, etc., but the current occupants have made major renovations. Certainly, Sams and Lewis Jordan – whose alto has a blues-drenched heft – owe much to the fluidity of Coleman/Cherry and the punch of the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s front line but, particularly on their unaccompanied dialog on "Back Home Again," they display an empathy based on uniquely complimentary phraseologies. Much the same can be said about Mark Izu and Anthony Brown who, especially on "Friction," a piece built upon short rhythmic bursts of texture, highlight color as much as they provide a strong foundation. --Bill Shoemaker, Down Beat
George Sams: trumpet
Lewis Jordan: alto saxophone, voice
Mark Izu: double bass
Anthony Brown: drums
Recorded live by Jost Gebers on November 6th & 7th, 1982, during the Total Music Meeting at the Quartier Latin in Berlin.
CD mastering Olaf Rupp.
Produced by Jost Gebers.
Cover design by Dieter Hahne.
Photographs by Dagmar Gebers.