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The last several months we have been covering Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer and her past and recent accomplishments performing in duet scenarios with notable modern jazz/free improvising drummers. We regard these significant collaborations with utmost importance and some degree of revelry. Recorded live January 1995 at Jazzclub Moods, Zurich, Switzerland – the teaming of Ms. Schweizer and renowned Dutch drummer Han Bennink offers yet another glimpse of the fascinating and stylistic interplay which has become something of a trademark these days as each drummer brings something distinctively special to the table. Each recording exemplifies or draws upon the creative spirits and technical acumen of drummers who for the most part are among the elite in modern/free jazz. Ms Schweizer repeatedly demonstrates her intuitiveness and synergistic approaches in each situation while feeding off the disparate styles or personas of these astute magicians of modern drumming. Along with the colorful yet masterful Han Bennink, Ms Schweizer goes full steam ahead on “Gnash” while implementing circular and well-pronounced sweeping chord progressions in tandem with Bennink’s forceful free-style drumming and delicate brushwork. The ever-playful Bennink often mimics Schweizer’s themes and statements from behind the kit. They swing hard on the medium tempo yet bold and brash, “Verzweigelt” featuring Ms. Schweizer’s lush lyricism as Bennink heightens the intensity, often in climactic albeit good-natured fashion. The piece titled, “Eine Andere Partie Tischtennis” is a free-swinging romp boasting a cavalcade of bright choruses as ideas abound in a relentless manner. They tackle the classic “Just A Gigolo” as Bennink accentuates via huge press rolls and deft cymbal work in support of Schweizer’s relatively traditional approach. Monk’s “Hackensack” swings while featuring the polyrhythmic yet all encompassing rhythms of the ever-inventive Bennink
In retrospect it would seem safe to state that these duets are not merely exhibitions or sideshows for the overly serious..... They aim to entertain yet explore or investigate new opportunities as the amazing aspects behind all of this reside in the split second timing, improvisation and sense of oneness that often prevails. Irene Schweizer and Han Bennink are having fun, and so was the audience in attendance. We sincerely hope that these encounters continue to flourish as Irene Schweizer and her estimable counterparts continue to reinvent or advance the seemingly limitless possibilities of the piano-drum format; hence, the plot thickens as a new chapter is added to the book!.........* * * *