Art Ensemble of Chicago – the Third Decade

1985 – ECM Records


This album takes its time (in a good way) to get going. It hints at the main theme for the first tune and takes a few minutes for it to kick into the beat. Even when it kicks in, it is a medium tempo waltz that sits behind the beat. The band, at this point in their career, had nothing to prove, they just wanted to make great music. When music doesn’t have to rely on speed or technical virtuosity, but can still captivate, it should be in your collection. Don’t get me wrong, from reading this blog it should be clear that I love complex/technical music, but there is something special about a band that chooses to take a more sophisticated route when they could literally do anything they want. “Funky AECO” has such a good feel and bassline that my thirteen month old started bobbing her head when it came on! Outside of the music itself, the album cover is super cool. Great music and packaging make this album a great example of why I love vinyl. An LP is a statement, it conveys more than a streamed version of the same album ever could. The act of pulling the vinyl out of the jacket, putting it on the turntable, dropping the needle, then sitting and reading over the liner notes is a great pleasure. It makes me pay more attention to the music. By flipping the record and reading the notes, you become a part of it. You are brought into the music in a way that can’t be done by listening piecewise to different tracks. It’s an experience, so stop reading and immerse yourself in a great album now! I suggest Art Ensemble of Chicago.