Friday, May 04, 2007

Music I Liked And Didn't - 5/1/07 - 5/4/07

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ANDERSON, FRED, AND HAMID DRAKE: From The River To The Ocean CD (Thrill Jockey) - “From The River To The Ocean” marks the latest reunion of Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake, one of the Jazz world’s longest-running and most productive partnerships. On this disc they are joined by Jeff Parker (guitar), Harrison Bankhead (bass/cello/piano) and Josh Abrams (bass/guimbri), who provide excellent support throughout. In fact, referring to Abrams, Bankhead, and Parker as mere “support” is probably both unfair and inaccurate, as the performances on this CD have a cohesion that sounds as if it could only have resulted from the collaborative efforts of an engaged and fully functioning group and each member (except for Parker) contributes to the composing duties.

“Planet E” is a suitably swinging opening shakedown for the ensemble that features Anderson and Parker. The lengthy and, perhaps definitive, version of Anderson’s venerable Blues “Strut Time” is highlighted by Parker, both comping tastefully in support and delivering excellent pointillistic solos, and Bankhead, who is masterful on cello. “For Brother Thompson” is a slow burning and spiritual piece that features Anderson’s soulful tenor wailing, Bankhead on piano, and Drake’s chanting and celestial percussion textures. The title track is also the album’s centerpiece, with Drake and Abrams providing a foundation of incredible tribal rhythms for the solos, of which Bankhead’s masterful eastern-influenced bow work on bass (or perhaps, though uncredited, it’s an arco bass?!?) was the most transcendent. The closing track “Sakti/Shiva”, is another soulful showcase for Anderson, accompanied only by Abrams on guimbri. While Anderson, Drake and company certainly aren’t blazing any new trails to the frontiers of Jazz on this date, “From The River To The Ocean” is, nevertheless, a very engaging collection of skillfully crafted contemporary Jazz as informed by pan-global ethnic musical traditions.

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Running Count For The Year

Adds 60/81%

Did Not Add 14/19%

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