Free jazz that is based on the adventurous spirit of a percussionist often means that melody takes a back seat. Drummer Jim Schapperoew brings lyrical support to his sessions just the same through the use of guest artists on flute, marimba, vocals, piano, cello, and violin. By allowing each gentle melody to flow over the rumbling antics of various drum textures, the leader creates an exotic session.
Melinda Kessler chants peacefully and Rob Newbold releases bird-like flute calls on "Dedicated to a Beloved Family" while Schapperoew surrounds them with exotic tom-tom banter. The drummer sits out for the album's title track, which simmers passionately with a spiritual regard. Karen Burlingame and Mark Goodrich provide wordless chants over the percussive cascades of Ian Finkle's marimba.
Schapperoew's "Dedication to Tony Williams," a fifteen-minute solo drum set improvisation, provides the album with a thorough initiation to the fascination that crisp rolls, accented pops, and consistently active rhythmic movements can endow on an audience. Recorded in 1979, the improvised piece stretches the limits of the drum solo. Schapperoew's crisp delivery, however, provides a stellar example of what the clinician must see and hear when demonstrating these aspects of percussion to intrigued students. In honor of the influence that Tony Williams had on all drummers, Schapperoew completes the improvised piece without cymbals; his sticks conspire with each of the drums to create a refreshing adventure that emphasizes clear articulation.
With pianist Charles Farrell, the drummer closes the session with a 21-minute improvisation that charges fast and furiously. Like a competition between two speedy athletes, the music spins and turns rapidly with constant motion. A bumblebee would be overwhelmed. Their percussive marathon, while repetitive, offers a fine display of what the creative mind can accomplish when leading-edge limits are transgressed.
Track Listing: The Wanderer; Dedicated to a Beloved Family; Uranian Rhythm; Dedicated to Tony Williams; Within; Music of the Duet.
Personnel: Jim Schapperoew: drums; Charles Farrell: piano; Ian Finkle: marimba; Nancy Zeltsman: bass marimba; Rob Newbold: flute; Artemis Thomas: violin; Steven Thomas: cello; Melinda Kessler, Karen Burlingame, Mark Goodrich: vocals.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.