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Andrew Cyrille & Bill McHenry: Proximity

Glenn Astarita By

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The story behind this duo setting by legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille and venerable tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry was initiated by Max Koslow who routinely attends New York City's fabled Village Vanguard venue on Thursday evenings. After hearing the twosome perform, he proposed they record a set in the studio for his nascent Brain Schism Productions. Indeed, the artists' synergy comes into full swing from the onset for a production that clocks in at 38-minutes.

McHenry's full-bodied tenor sound is occasionally mellowed via his light-hearted dialogues with Cyrille's poetic and overtly melodic fills, countered by many bristling improv segments. Even without a bassist, the musicians still manage to sustain a tightknit working relationship along with a capacious backdrop. On "Let Me Tell You This," Cyrille dishes out a clever and intricately developed motif with intermittent cowbell hits and what seems like an electronically altered snare drum effect or perhaps he loosened the tension on the snare's strainer. And they segue into a sprightly and quirky bop vamp during "Broken Heart," abetted by the saxophonist's wailing extended notes and the drummer's brisk polyrhythmic solo. Other pieces are marked by Cyrille's rolling Afro-centric toms patterns and parts where the artists' go full throttle, based on rippling currents and rapidly paced exchanges. Hence, a job well done and perhaps additional works are in the tank, evidenced by the 50 second final track "To Be Continued." Essentially, these jazz masters transmit a compassionate and indisputably upbeat mindset from start to finish.

Track Listing: Bedouin Woman; Fabula; Drum Song for Leadbelly; Drum Man Cyrille; Proximity; Let Me Tell You This; Broken Heart; Aquatic Life; Double Dutch; Seasons; Dervish; To Be Continued…

Personnel: Andrew Cyrille: drums; Bill McHenry: tenor saxophone.

Title: Proximity | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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