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Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer's celebrated duets with jazz drumming greats, Andrew Cyrille, Han Bennink and Gunter Baby Sommer must have been impressive spectacles. This album denotes her third duo album with her infamous fellow countryman, drummer Pierre Favre. Needless to state, the artists' extraordinary interactions are in full force via these concise pieces that were not arranged or rehearsed prior to the live gigs, spanning March 22-24, 2013 at a venue in Zurich. Even though these works skirt the free-zone, structural song-forms tender the underpinning for the musicians' uncanny intuition that of course, matures over time amid insights garnered from previous collaborations.
Indeed, the energetic output of these performances suggest that an aura of excitement was in the air. The musicians are in perpetual motion with fluctuating paradigms, frisky call and response maneuvers and a homogeneous composite of melody and dissonance. Schweizer and Favre reside on the same imaginary plane. With the pianist's cascading chord clusters, at times executed with the refinement of a classicist, the duo re-energizes their game-plan throughout, but the oscillating flows remain a constant. Favre's rumbling polyrhythms, multihued cymbals treatments, and power-packed movements coalesce with Schweizer's crashing cadenzas, occasionally countered with ethereal interludes. Her fluent harmonics and a few rollicking R&B vamps provide additional twists and turns, juxtaposed by pieces such as "Broken Notes," where the twosome challenge each other with capricious episodes. Consequently, "Huben wie druben" looms as a nod to Bill Evans and on "Night Flights," the pianist gingerly darts across the eighty-eights, leading to a zesty finale.
Schweizer gives Irving Berlin's "All Alone" a late-night bluesy touch, framed on an animated attack, yet they go full throttle and spark a sense of urgency with a bit of mayhem on the turbulent, "Up and Down." Hence, the artists' exceptional synergy is a reminder that certain facets of music education, surrounding emotive qualities and how to unify the spiritual element, cannot be taught in institutions. (Highly Recommended...)
Track Listing: Black Mirror; Gemini Constellation; Bird of Paradise; Ice Green Blue;
Broken Notes; Huben wie druben; Painted Face; Night Flights; Open Star
Clusters; All Alone; Up and Down; Blues for Crelier.
Personnel: Irène Schweizer: piano; Pierre Favre: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.