Perhaps because the piano can be a percussive instrument, piano/drum duets don't have a huge list of practitioners, with the honorable exception of Cecil Taylor. There's a Taylor link on these two recordings by Washington-based pianist David Haney and master drummer Andrew Cyrille, who had a 10-year tenure with Taylor from 1965. Haney is a percussive player, but he's not a Taylor clone. He shows more affinity with the obliqueness of early 1980s Andrew Hill, or more latterly Matthew Shipp, in his fondness for repeated rhythmic patterns.
David Haney / Andrew Cyrille Clandestine CIMP
Clandestine features 14 cuts in the two to seven minute range, a mixture of Haney credits and joint extemporizations. Even the compositions have an attractively loose rough-edged quality, stemming from what producer Bob Rusch terms Haney's "loose adherence to structural lines." If this represents a challenge, then it is one to which Cyrille rises effortlessly in the call-and-response dynamic intrinsic to the session, explicit on "French Glenn" but part of the fabric elsewhere like the strongly riffing "Red Saigon." Both participants trade in rhythmic and timbral joshing, exemplified by "Between Still Points," where sparse freeform piano is interpolated with Cyrille's clattering syncopation and off-kilter accents, until, increasingly animated, Haney's rhythmic variations are goosed by Cyrille's urgent rat-a-tat.
David Haney / Andrew Cyrille / Dominic Duval Conspiracy A Go Go CIMP
In preparing for the duo session, Haney had felt that some of the pieces he had been working on would benefit from a third voice and so of the eight pieces on Conspiracy A Go Go, five are revisited from the duo recording, in more expansive renditions, with the addition of bassist Dominic Duval. Often they become even more emphatic, such as "Two Year Trial" where Duval doubles up on the riff and energizes to the point of spontaneous combustion; but others become more restrained, such as "Five Folk Blues" which becomes largely a bass and piano duet. Freed from carrying the line, Haney's circuitous patterns fragment and extrapolate in a trio where any one of the participants can shape the flow of the music as equals.
Tracks and PersonnelClandestine
Tracks: Two Year Trial; Summer Call to Arms; French Glenn; River Traffic; Chipped Chopsticks; Five Folk Blues; Jumpin' for Julie; The Loop; Red Saigon; Musician's Wren Blues; Out of the Green; Shenandoah On My Mind; Between Still Points; Re-Creation.
Personnel: David Haney: piano; Andrew Cyrille: drums. Conspiracy A Go Go
Tracks: Red Saigon; Two Year Trial; Five Folk Blues; Plague on Wheels; Chipped Chopsticks; Musician's Wren Blues; Long Flight, Small Plane; Late Night Communique in Five.
Personnel: David Haney: piano; Andrew Cyrille: drums; Dominic Duval: bass.