Andrew Cyrille is one of jazz' most accomplished, creative and dynamic drummers. Perhaps best known for his work with Cecil Taylor during one of the pianist's most fertile periods, his playing always demonstrates concern for the total group sound.
When We Were Kings contains four tracks credited to pianist Gaetano Liguori that are loosely based on certain aspects of boxer Muhammad Ali's life. The title track starts with a Cecil-like energy and a focus on pitch areas that many 'free jazz' piano players overlook. Both trumpet and drums offer musical counterpoint to one another, Cyrille's playing extroverted but dynamically flexible and melodic in the way that Max Roach pioneered. The highlight of the album, "Svolazza... , has a gorgeous, lyrical beginning with piano in ballad mode and trumpet playing a simple, plaintive melody.
Trio 3 (Cyrille, saxophonist Oliver Lake and bassist Reggie Workman) have long, brilliant resumés and one expects great things just from the personnel. However Time Being goes beyond expectations and presents a fiery, inspired set of music. One of the good points of the album is the brevity of the tunes, so even though both CDs are approximately an hour, the ten tracks of Time Being (compared to When We Were Kings' four) offer a little more diversity in the musical vocabulary with no less passionate commitment. Workman's "Medea uses different ostinatos as launching pads for fierce improvisations; Cyrille's "Given (The Whirlwind) has a take on fast tempo bop that is original and energetic; and Lake's "Lope occupies a time feel between swing, march and funk with a Cyrille drum solo that demonstrates how he has organically developed the Roach drum vocabulary into his own strong melodic-rhythmic language.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Chase; Medea; Tight Rope; Equilateral; Lope; Time Was; Playing For Keeps; Given(The Whirlwind); Time Being; Special People.
Personnel: Oliver Lake, alto and soprano saxophones; Reggie Workman, bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums.
When We Were Kings
Tracks: Where We Were Kings; Ali Boma Ye' Svolazza Some Una Farfall,Pungi come un'ape; Kinsha October 30, 1974.
Personnel: Gaetano Liguori, piano; Guido Mazzon, trumpet; Andrew Cyrille, drums.
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