Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Andrew Cyrille, William Parker & Enrico Rava, 2 Blues for Cecil



Of all the lineups to expect in new improvisational/Jazz releases, this might not have been especially predictable in my head. But what a great idea, and in listening, you might well exclaim like I did to myself, what a great result. I speak of the recent album by Andrew Cyrille, William Parker and Enrico Rava called 2 Blues for Cecil (Tum CD 059). And of course this is unexpected only because it has not been a combination I am familiar with, not that it is not intuitively right as you contemplate it. After all trumpet master Enrico Rava, innovative drummer Andrew Cyrille and contrabass virtuoso William Parker justly deserve the long appreciation and recognition by followers of the improvisational arts as some of the very most important living exponents of their respective instruments. All of course flourish in a free playing situation. And they certainly do here.

It is one thing to say all of that, it is another to experience the uncanny three-way rapport and excellent high wire poetics of this lengthy but all-essential trio date. Everyone sounds inspired and reveling in the playing possibilities this teaming gave them at that more or less fateful series of musical moments. For the results are nothing short of magic, alternately thoughtful, then contentfully fireworks-explosive.

The rooted, yet free two blues segments here are beautiful--and so fitting a tribute to Cecil Taylor's rising out of the Jazz tradition into something of course completely open and unique.

I have not heard Enrico Rava's trumpet grace my ears in a number of years. The great news is that he sounds beautiful here, as do William Parker and Andrew Cyrille, who have been around the New York situation all along and I have heard pretty frequently in various fine sessions of the last decade.

The entire sequence is wonderfully alive, classic in its own sense, beautifully wrought in the best ways, free and inspired in the best ways. If you imagine this lineup and know the players stylistic strengths, imagine what that might sound like. This album gives you that in rewardingly strong ways.

Brilliant album. Big kudos to all concerned. Get this without fail!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Rodrigo Amado, Northern Liberties


The world during the height of the pandemic hung in suspension. Things arrived more later than sooner. The response was the same at times. So this reviewer finds he is catching up with some very good things now. Rodrigo Amado's 2017 session Northern Liberties (Not Two Records MW 1016-2), which came out last year, was inexplicably buried in piles for a time. A thorough sorting unearthed it and it turned out to be timeless, ever at the vivid listening point for my sound fare regardless of season or time.

The album centers on four rough-and-ready collective improvisations by Amado on tenor, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Jon Rune Strom on doublebass, and Gard Nilssen on drums. It is a very mutually simpatico band where Amado stands out quite naturally but the four of them have an ideal give and take throughout. Everyone has their say in the end. It is what a collectivity should be to my mind. This is some seminal free jazz expression, a happy confluence anyone who loves open free blowing will no doubt embrace.

It is classic avant expression, a torrid wash of freetime energy blowing following in the footsteps of Ayler, Ornette, late Trane and such, with some of Rodrigo's most excellent presencing on disk. He affirms once again his stature as a tenor of true importance on today's scene. Get this!