Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

493

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

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Expanding on a musical relationship that stretches over thirty years, From the River to the Ocean finds tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and drummer Hamid Drake, joined by three fellow Chicagoans, in a carefree mood. Guitarist Jeff Parker and bassists Harrison Bankhead and Josh Abrams join the duo on a lively set that encapsulates the highly conversational nature of today's best avant-garde jazz hailing from the Windy City.

Anderson and Drake's previous album on Thrill Jockey, 2004's Back Together Again, documented their first studio collaboration. Bolstered by tight, intuitive ensemble interplay, this set embellishes their core sound, while maintaining the effortless delivery of their previous session.

As founder of the Velvet Lounge and a charter member of the AACM, Anderson has attained iconic status in the Chicago jazz scene. His angular yet lyrical tenor phrasing is instantly recognizable, whether spiraling out barbed ribbons of notes or easing back with soulful restraint. When supported by Drake's flowing, polyrhythmic grooves, they make a sublime pair.

With Jeff Parker's postmodern versatility and the superlative bass work of Bankhead and Abrams (who both double on extra instruments), the ensemble sets forth with a broad palette of sound at its disposal. Over five lengthy pieces, the quartet spans a vast expanse of genres and styles. "Planet E" is an Afrobeat-influenced post bop burner, complete with a coiling guitar solo from Parker that complements Anderson's stout tenor, culminating in an effusive three-way dialogue between Abrams, Bankhead and Drake. "Strut Time" is an epic surging blues, with lengthy solo excursions from all players while spotlighting Anderson's gruff, emotive lyricism.

The impressionistic modal journey of "For Brother Thompson" (dedicated to the late trumpeter Malachi Thompson) recalls the emotional power of late-period Coltrane; Bankhead's ominous piano chords and Drake's Arabic chanting resonate over a rubato groove.

The exotic title track and "Shakti/Shiva" both feature Abrams' hypnotic, sinewy guimbiri (a bass-like North African lute). On the former, Parker hammers out kaleidoscopic shards, Bankhead bows his strings with tenacious resolve, and Drake delivers a steady frame drum pulse, weaving an intricate harmonic tapestry for Anderson's brawny tenor sax testimonials.

The resonant, mature beauty found on From the River to the Ocean proves that contemporary free jazz doesn't always have to burn white-hot to generate emotional heat; simmering intensity can yield the same results.


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 Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Rock Pool Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Rock Pool Mirror
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "The Lovers card" CD/LP/Track Review The Lovers card
by James Nadal
Published: August 15, 2017