A message from Wadada on Fire Illuminations:
I believe the music of Fire Illuminations will provide artists and listeners an opportunity to share a beautiful intuitive environment in the present -moment-space inner space to connect in deeper core of the music.
This album is a ceremonial space where ones hearts and conscious can embrace for a brief period of unconditioned love where the artist and their music with the active observer becomes united.
This ceremonial encounter offers a deeper perspective on being; and occupying the present reality together inside this sonic universe one experience direct communication.
With love we touch the heart’s truth.
— Wadada Leo Smith, New Haven, CT, 2023
What the Critics are Saying:
“A sense of freedom is present in each of his releases and Fire Illuminations is another marvelous outing made with like-minded individuals. Here, he commands an unconventional nine-piece electric group – Orange Wave Electric – that features three guitarists and two electric bassists.” (Jazz Trail)
“Never mind the frequency of his recent output; every project feels like a major, significant undertaking. Fire Illuminations (Kabell Records) is significant for another reason: he’s introducing a band.”
“But this is more than some recycling of old ideas, even if no one will mistake Fire Illuminations as being from anyone else. Smith liberally mixed and matched the personnel at his disposal to fit the material and applied post-production more generously than usual. And yet, the spirit of playing in the moment remains intact.”
“Despite a widely varied and celebrated career stretching back to the ’60s, we are still discovering the extent of Wadada Leo Smith’s ingenuity and artistic reach. Fire Illuminations, like most of his albums, is not just another record. It’s another chapter in his fascinating, ongoing story.” (Something Else)
“The five, new pieces tell inspirational stories and are linked into a most humane concept that only the greatest and most visionary artists like Smith can realize.” (Salt Peanuts)
“Featuring the entire nonet, the piece has a deep, dark, and elegant theme—a slow processional that sparks numerous allusions as it winds its way across the imagination.” (Soundstage)
“Smith’s focus is clear, uncluttered and hard-driving, with slashing guitars, deep grooves, and wavering electronics, with Smith, as he always, blowing his unwavering horn in new surroundings, blowing between steely clarion calls and muted, subdued, human voice statements which sound like deep cosmic secrets revealed.” (All About Jazz)
“He is now 81 years old, and Fire Illuminations shows, first of all, that Smith is still operating at the height of his creative and collaborative powers.” (New Haven Independent)