Jazz doesn’t come much more sophisticated than this. The drummer Andrew Cyrille operates at a whole different level from the “regular beat”. This album opens with Coltrane Time, an obscure John Coltrane composition unrecorded by him, and only known by Cyrille because it was passed on by Coltrane’s drummer Rashied Ali. While the leader lets his snare talk for him on this piece, we are gently introduced to the other members of his quartet: Bill Frisell on guitar, Ben Street on double bass and Richard Teitelbaum on synthesizer and piano.
All four interact like no other jazz quartet I can think of. I suppose Frisell’s is the most conventional role, well, some of the time when he is playing a lead line as on his own compositions Kaddish and Song For Andrew No.1. But even he explores with a freedom we haven’t heard for a while on his own albums. Street is as much a melody instrument as Frisell and as much a rhythm man as Cyrille. Teitelbaum is the most frugal of contributors, adding subtle washes, bleeps and skronks. Cyrille often uses brushes.
There is a lot of air between these four players – especially on the group compositions which are presumably free in some aspects – as they circle and glide around each other, sometimes crossing, sometimes playing alongside though never very close.
Quiet, inexplicable, uncanny, fascinating…
Categories: CD review