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.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.