179

Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake: From The River To The Ocean

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake: From The River To The Ocean Chicago-based sax legend Fred Anderson and globetrotting drummer and percussionist Hamid Drake have collaborated many times over the last three decades. Their close relationship comes, in part, from a similar background—both hail from the same small town of Monroe, Louisiana. They shared an almost familial relationship, with Drake beginning his career in his early teens by taking lessons with Anderson's son. On their new demonstration of this ongoing friendship, From The River To The Ocean, they continue to reaffirm and reconfirm the beautiful creative and mature musical bond that they've perfected over the years.

For this project Anderson and Drake drafted three fellow Chicagoans. Jeff Parker (guitar), Harrison Bankhead (bass/piano/cello) and Josh Abrams (bass/guimbri) all contribute to the cohesiveness of this release. Anderson and Drake lead this small outfit throughout five relaxed and varied tracks.

Anderson's searching and meditative tone opens the first swinging track, "Planet E." Written by Anderson, he soon lets Parker's well-crafted melodic lines take the lead. Bankhead, Abrams and Drake anchor the emphatic dialogue of Anderson and Parker into a light groove that always lets them soar over the solid, evolving rhythm.

A twenty-one minute version of Anderson's classic set-closing blues, "Strut Time," is up next. The airy arrangement ties Parker's sensitive guitar with Bankhead's cello. The steady pulse of Abrams' bass and the propulsive yet delicate drumming of Drake all inspire Anderson to spring into a brilliant and soulful set of solos. Parker's melodic solo mirrors Bankhead's well-accentuated cello solo, while Abrams sets a solid groove that introduces the rich vocabulary of Drake's drum solo before the quintet rejoins for a heartfelt coda of the theme.

Bankhead's "For Brother Thompson" is a brooding, modal tribute to the late trumpeter Malachi Thompson. Drake opens and closes the piece chanting a prayer for Allah in Arabic, playing the bells while Bankhead accompanies him on piano. Anderson joins with a meditative cry on the saxophone, and than Abrams adds warm and dark colors with his arco bass playing.

The title track, written by Abrams and Drake, features Abrams on the guimbri (a three-stringed Moroccan acoustic bass associated with the spiritual Gnawa tradition), and Drake on a frame drum. Both lay down a hypnotic tribal groove that challenges Parker to an inspired angular performance on the guitar, Bankhead a wise arco elaboration of the Mid-Eastern rhythm and Anderson another fine searching improvisation.



Abrams continues on the guimbri on the last track, "Sakti/Shiva," written by himself, Anderson and Drake. This short and balanced duet between the soulful and potent sax cries of Anderson and the fierce plucking of guimbri by Abrams sound as the perfect conclusion to this release, where modern Western blues finds common ground with ancient African blues.

The oceanic spiritual creativity of Anderson, Drake and their colleagues keeps the rivers and the seas flowing with joyful musicality. Warmly recommended.


Track Listing: Planet E; Strut Time; For Brother Thompson; From the River to the Ocean; Sakti/Shiva.

Personnel: Fred Anderson: tenor saxophone; Hamid Drake: drums, frame drum (4); Jeff Parker: guitar (1,2,4); Harrison Bankhead: cello (2), piano (3), bass (1,4); Josh Abrams: bass (1-3), guimbiri (4,5).

Title: From The River To The Ocean | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Live At The High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Heaven" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Spirits
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "East West Daydreams" CD/LP/Track Review East West Daydreams
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 17, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.