Saturday, January 27, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - January 24/07

Cecil Taylor is often described as playing the piano as if it was 88 tuned drums. Look no further than the molten Irene Schweizer/Hamid Drake duet that kicks off "Live in Willisau and Taktlos" for exhibit B. Schweizer, one of the vital but unfortunately lesser known figures in European free jazz of the last 30 years, throws it all on the table. She was once a Taylor disciple and there are many sections of this 21 minute piece where the affinity is strong. She's not as cluster oriented; her melodies are discernable and rhythms have a tendency to settle into more pulsating motifs. She is also heavily indebted to South African melody, with Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo as inspirations and collaborators - it seems that anyone who ever played with the South African exiles once known as the Blue Notes was profoundly affected by them.
Schweizer excels in the duo format, as evidenced by Intakt's retrospective sampler from 2 years ago which reissued duets with Gunter Sommer, Moholo, Andrew Cyrille and many more. She's got huge ears (not literally) and can thrust and parry with anyone she meets up with - often her duet partners bring something unexpected even from their own repertoire. That's certainly the case with Drake here. He's an astonishing drummer, with unbelievable funk - which definitely comes into play in the last 1/3 of this piece - but what is most amazing in this piece is his melodic sense. The first ten minutes sees both players sketching along the margins of a shared rhythm, with lightning fast push and pull. Then, both go for the gutbucket in the latter part and meld one crunchy rhythmic vamp into another. And THEN Fred Anderson (dig the Bears boosterism on the Velvet Lounge site...) joins in for the rest of the disc, and it's a whole different story.

For those who think that European jazz is too cerebral...

a former dialogue - irene schweizer/hamid drake (intakt)
brekete takai - trevor watts moire music drum ensemble (ecm)
ye jawani hai mera jaan - mohammed rafi & asha bhosle/sonik-omi (normal) more about this next week...
rocky and perri - snowboy (ubiquity)
chocolate - grupo fantasma (airesol)
atlantic rising - sunship ensemble (do right)
pogo nuevo - rise ashen (fossil fuel)
hidden secret - neon tetra (noise factory)
m.o.a.b. - the eternals (aesthetics)
forobana (from "midnight in mali") - habib koite etc. (sterns)
saa magni - oumou sangare (nonesuch)
de trei ani nu dau pe acasa - dona dumitru siminica (asphalt tango)
revolution version - sly and robbie/dennis brown (pressure sounds)
walking on the edge (live) - dub syndicate (on-u)
toromata - nova lima (mr. bongo)
step and respect - polycubist (skor)
shaka zulu - twilight circus/ranking joe (m)
eden dub - prince jammy (csa)
all for free - tafari syndicate (pressure sounds)

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