When a drummer/percussionist records a solo albumespecially one with the title Freea potential listener's first expectation would likely involve long, abstract drum solos. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dutch musician Joost Lijbaart took the opportunity offered by Covid-19 downtime to craft a suite of short pieces characterized by a rich variety of timbres (including non percussive instruments such as harmonium and flute) and a frequently contemplative sound world.
"Strangers From The Sky" opens the album with a soft blend of gongs, cymbals, bells and drums played with mallets. Bowed bells introduce a high, keening voice to the texture: an almost electronic effect. A harmonium brings in a harmonic element, the first indication that definite pitches will also have a significant place. The drum kit rhythm that drives "Velocity" adds timekeeping to the preceding rubato texture.
"Half Moon" features the mallet sound of the balafon, along with shaker and hand percussion, producing a hypnotic groove reminiscent of West African music. "Saman" uses wood flute for both texture and melodic lines, accompanied by shakers, bells and a drum pulse, the kind of sound one might hear in percussionist Adam Rudolph's music. The title tune closes the album with a reflective harmonium accompanied by delicate vibraphone doubling and shakers.
Lijbaart's playing experience includes years of group jazz playing with Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing, but most of the music here is more related to his recent work with the multi-generational improvisational trio Under The Surface , especially on their second album Trinity (Challenge Records, 2019). It represents his freedom song, an interior journey born out of a lifetime of playing experience.
Strangers From The Sky; Velocity; Corona Spiritual; Half Moon; Twinkling Night; Dreamtime; Manhood; Talking Trees; Niaga; Saman; Interstellar; Solitude; Free.
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