Originally released on LP, the music for this recording was constructed and presented as a statement of sorts regarding South Africa’s political turmoil, namely the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, Apartheid and so forth. Here, South African drummer Louis Moholo and the wonderful Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer perform a series of duets recorded live, 1986 at the International Jazzfestival in Zurich Switzerland. Ms Schweizer’s insurmountable aptitude and penchant for recording with estimable jazz drummers is well documented on LP & CD. Her most recent outing with Pierre Favre and stints with Han Bennink, Gunter Sommer and Andrew Cyrille each contain aspects, which illustrate her keen ear and comprehension of disparate styles while in the company of world class drummers.
On Irene Schweizer & Louis Moholo we are treated to bouncy melodies, introspective interplay and narratives which speak loud and clear, as in the 1st track, titled “Free Mandela”. Here and throughout, the often brilliant Moholo displays polyrhythmic acumen, which at this juncture is somewhat legendary. Ms Schweizer and Mr. Moholo generally cavort in unison as Moholo maintains the feverish pulse, which adds structure while enhancing the synchronous attack. Part of the magic lies within Moholo’s utterly creative yet technically difficult utilization of snare, hi-hat and bass drum! Moholo projects odd-metered back beats with unusual approaches to tempo and measure yet on many an occasion provides tumultuous African style rhythms across his toms with passion and determination. “Mra” revolves around an affable melody perpetuated by Ms Schweizer’s sweeping and amazingly quick chord progressions, that border free-jazz, mainstream and perhaps a dose of Professor Longhair style rock and roll. The 19 minute suite, “Exile” is a tour de force as these two masters display gobs of power and resolve while effortlessly whirling through a flurry of motifs, complete with all the twists and turns. The worldly approach and non-stop action is at times breathtaking.....It could not have been scripted any better! Highly recommended!! * * * * *
See AAJ August 1999 review featuring Irene Schweizer & Pierre Favre; September 1999 review of Irene Schweizer & Andrew Cyrille
Distribution in the USA: North Country Distributors, Cadence Building, Redwood N.Y. 13679