Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake: Back Together Again (2004)
Hamid Drake has been a member of Fred Anderson’s extended family for years. Drake took drum lessons from Fred’s son and replaced him in Fred’s quartet. Now a leading light in his own right, Drake returns to play with family on Together Again. The intimate sessions show the tangible bond between the two, and their ease in artfully filling vast amounts of sonic space with rich powerful music.
Drake brings a variety of rhythm instruments to the session, and he overdubs three on “Leap Forward.” The three tracks lay a solid ground work for Anderson’s extended melodic invention. Anderson flows with an exhausting volume of ideas. His boundless mastery of the tenor finds perfect foil in Drake’s polyrhythms. A song for their ladies, “Black Women” has the drummer keeping time on the hi-hat and slapping a storm out of everything else. Anderson explores the dark, soulful melody with that ripe-toned mid-range.
The title track has Drake bending straight-ahead drumming, with his bass drum acting as a bass. The extended track allows Anderson time to tell many tales. Drake’s astonishing hand drum technique opens ”Losel Drolma.” The saxophonist takes the exotic melody and turns it in many unexpected ways. “A Ray From THE ONE” picks up the pace with Anderson bubbling over Drake’s workout. They visit a sophisticated swamp land on “Louisiana Strut,” Drake elaborate and playful, Anderson bringing the red beans and rice Chicago style.
Anderson comes out blowing on “Know Your Advantage.’’ Drake stays loose, finding beats within runs that keep crashing like waves. Back on frame drum, Drake opens “Lama Khyenno,” followed by a subdued and sensual Anderson. His singing creates a reverent call and response.
Hamid Drake and Fred Anderson bring the fruits of their long association to bear and share that magic chemistry as a stunning document of just how much music two people can make.
Track Listing: Leap Forward; Black Women; Back Together Again; Losel Drolma; A Ray From THE ONE; Louisiana Strut; Know Your Advantage; Lama Khyenno.
Personnel: Fred Anderson, tenor sax; Hamid Drake, drums and percussion.