Hartmut Geerken, John Tchicai, and Famoudou Don Moye are all masters of improvisation and of deeply-felt music that smolders with passionate zeal. This disc was recorded live at the "Praxis '85" festival in Athens, Greece on May 8, 1985, a night when, by the sound of things, each man was in thorough musical command.
They begin at the absolute height, and then fill the rest of the night with other colors. The opening track, "Patriotic Poem Number One Forty Years After," was powered by Geerken's instructions to the other two to play absolutely as loudly and furiously as possible. Then for "Sawasawa" the pianist lays down a driving ostinato, over which Tchicai solos with his characteristic fervent melodic energy. "Races" is a showcase for the evidently multi-armed Moye.
The center of the disc is formed by two tributes: Charlie Parker's "Mohawk," played superbly by Tchicai over a scatted vocal and thunderous drums and other effects; and Albert Ayler's "Mothers," on which Tchicai captures all the pathos and drama of Ayler's best work.
Rounding out the program we have artfully deployed noise effects ("Marconison"), tribal flute work ("Cassava Snake One Pot"), rhythmic and deeply affecting African chant ("Mikel Black"), and more driving tenor ("Rosty Metal"). A high-energy, high-passion, all-around great recording.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.