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Bebop Spoken There

Ethan Iverson: "I asked Bertha [Hope] if she ever used the word "contrafact" to describe the process of writing new tunes over old changes, and she replied, "Of course not. The only people who used that word went to a university to learn about jazz."" - (Jazz Times March 2020).

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, October 03, 2016

CD Review: Andrew Cyrille Quartet - The Declaration of Musical Independence

Bill Frisell – Guitar; Richard Teitelbaum  - synthesiser, piano; Ben Street – double bass; Andrew Cyrille – drums.
(Review by Hugh C)
In a previous blog post, Lance has alluded to fact that I am his preferred recipient of the slightly more outré offerings that drop through his letterbox.  I was not surprised therefore, bumping into Lance at the Sirkis/Bialis gig at the Globe, when I was greeted with “I've got something for you – Bill Frisell?”.  As my answer was in the affirmative, I was handed a smart red CD still in its polythene wrap, placed it in my coat pocket and thought nothing more of it – the International Quartet were starting up.

Lance knows I like the ECM product.  Many, but by no means all, of the CDs I am offered for review are on the ECM label – this appeared to be an exception, no moody black and white photograph on the front, just a smart red cover with white lettering.  The packaging, in the cold light of Sunday morning, however, felt familiar – an outer cardboard sleeve concealing the CD jewel case.  Yes, this was ECM.
I was surprised to read that this CD was by the Andrew Cyrille Quartet, Bill Frisell being second in the listing.  This is, apparently, avant-garde drummer, Andrew Cyrille's ECM leader debut. Unusually, no promotional material (other than the CD itself) was sent to BSH for review.  When reviewing a CD I tend to read through the promotional literature before listening to the CD, this often provides me with a hook on which to hang my additional verbiage.  The CD booklet has the usual moody photographs of the band and the individual members during the recording session.  Uncharacteristically for an ECM recording, there are also four pages of commentary on the CD.  Unfortunately (for me, as reviewer) I can barely understand a word of it!  Apparently in the musical world of the 20th century we had “become enmeshed completely and needlessly in steady, even time signatures deriving from military applications, to the exclusion of any other understanding of musical flow” - and so it goes on.

To the music then – this CD comes in at 45 minutes or thereabouts.  There are 9 tracks, the first being composed by John Coltrane and the remainder by individual, or a combination of the band members.  Some are previous compositions and three are new improvisational pieces involving all four musicians.  The languorous guitar style of Frisell is dominant throughout. 

As the title of the CD and the sleeve notes suggest, the music is largely devoid of the metrical contstraint of a time signature, one does get the impression from time to time (no pun intended!) that the output is a series of interesting, but unconnected noises rather than a continuous whole.  This is not to detract from the beauty of some of the more lyrical passages.

As I have commented before in respect of some of the CDs I have been offered for review, this is likely to appeal to the enthusiast, but perhaps not to the more general audience.  Would I buy this CD - no.  Would I recommend it to others – possibly, with the enthusiast proviso above.  Will I use this review copy to scare the birds in my allotment – no, I don't have an allotment

All in all then, an interesting (to coin a phrase) adventure – but not over-inspiring.  As Jazzwise Magazine's regular correspondent, The Colonel, might say:  “Could do with some military discipline!”
Hugh C.
Track Listing:
Coltrane Time  [Coltrane]
Kaddish [Frisell]
Sanctuary [The Quartet]
Say [Street]
Dazzling (Perchordially Yours) [The Quartet]
Herky Jerky [Teitelbaum]
Begin [Frisell]
Manfred [The Quartet]
Song for Andrew No. 1 [Frisell]


The Declaration of Musical Independence is released on ECM, Cat No.  ECM2430 and is available now.

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