Nearly three decades have passed since that glorious 1981 evening, when an audience of three thousand gathered in the cathedral of St. John the Divine to hear what Max Roach called "A Grand Collaboration": a concert by M'Boom and the World Saxophone Quartet. For those who were there and those who weren't, this "Great Collaboration" is an eagerly anticipated sequel, an event that promises to get 2010 off to a roaring start. Roach founded M'Boom in 1970, as the first ensemble consisting entirely of Western and non-Western percussion instruments, ranging from vibraphone, marimba, and tympani to steel drums, timbales, and glockenspiels. M'Boom, which has numbered to as many as 10 players, now includes three of its founding members, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith, and Ray Mantilla, along with Eli Fountain and Steve Berrios. The World Saxophone Quartet, founded in 1976, is the most celebrated saxophone ensemble in jazz history, and is made up of three founding members: David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake, plus James Carter in the seat originally occupied by Julius Hemphill. These two ensembles fuse together with an almost mystical cohesion, intensity and flat-out joy.
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