13

Dave Liebman, Adam Rudolph, Hamid Drake: Chi

Don Phipps By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Liebman, Adam Rudolph, Hamid Drake: Chi
Recorded live at John Zorn's New York City experimental jazz club The Stone in May of 2018, the trio of saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Liebman and multi-instrumentalists/percussionists Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph use their album Chi to present amazing tone poems and dynamic musical explorations.

Liebman's full-throated saxophone voicings juxtapose with Drake and Rudolph's rolling drums and percussion instruments, which splatter and bounce like great waves hitting the rocks off Maui. The interaction is driven by the percussionists, and, as they pick up momentum, Liebman's lines become arcing and prolific. When the two percussionists are playing together as a duet, the music bends along a poly-rhythmic line.

Rudolph explains in the liner notes the process undertaken during the performance: "Chi is what the Taoists describe as vital energy.... Chi animates all the frequencies of vibration, from a stone to a thought, from subatomic activity to the spiral of galaxies. It is our very own breath, blood and electricity."

The music certainly approximates Chi in every phrase, beat, and outburst. On both "Emergence" and "Whirl," a dance ensues, as Liebman spins lines on soprano sax over the bouncy rhythms. "Emergence" also features Liebman's wooden recorder while "Whirl" adds Rudolph's repeating motif on the sintir (a three stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute that is used by the Gnawan, who inhabit regions of North Africa).

"Flux" hops about, like a rabbit surprised by a fox. Liebman's phrases leap and bound and stutter over the terrain laid out by the percussion—a system of ruts, grooves, and ridges. As the song reaches the midway point, Liebman solos with an electronic echo that resonates as though he were atop a crest of an expansive canyon. About halfway through another tune, "Continuum," the percussionists improvise below Liebman's dit-dot and roller-coaster sound collages.

Nothing quite sets the table though for "Formless Form." Here musical space is curved and a straight line is no longer the fastest path. Instead, like light reflecting off a pond, the music seems to refract and diffuse in mysterious and engaging ways.

If vital energy is the goal, Chi certainly achieves it. Gorgeously engineered, the album provides a record of one night's stunning discoveries of sound, space and time.

Track Listing

Becoming; Flux; Continuum; Formless Form; Emergence; Whirl.

Personnel

Dave Liebman: tenor saxophone, piano, wooden recorder; Adam Rudolph: handrumset (kongos, djembe, tarija), piano (1), sintir, multi-phonic vocal, percussion, electronic processing; Hamid Drake: drumset, vocal, frame drum.

Album information

Title: Chi | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read 25 Years
25 Years
Edward Simon
Read Splatter
Splatter
Roscoe Mitchell
Read Then Now
Then Now
Matthew Shipp / Rob Brown
Read Free Hoops
Free Hoops
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.