8

Irene Schweizer / Han Bennink: Welcome Back

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
For such an assuredly rhythmic player Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer shows an unexpected affinity to drummers, who feature disproportionately as partners in her discography. But even so Welcome Back constitutes only the second entry to pair Schweizer with maverick Dutch drummer Han Bennink, following their eponymous debut (Intakt, 1996), which was itself preceded by years of engagement stretching back further still. In spite of their impeccable avant-garde credentials (both have been at the forefront of European improv for the last five decades) they have crafted a surprisingly accessible album which fizzes with joie de vivre.

Two days in the studio generated sufficient material from which to select a diverse yet well-rounded program. Among the 14 short cuts are those which reflect a fondness for tradition (a gentle "Meet me tonight in dreamland" on which Bennink's airy accompaniment brings a smile to the face), the influence of South African expatriates (Johnny Dyani's richly voiced "Ntyilo, Ntyilo") and their regard for Monk (the concluding sunny rendition of "Eronel"). Though credited to one or other of the two principals, many of the remaining cuts sound spontaneous with an unforced freewheeling feel.

They conjure outbreaks of irrepressible swing from even the seemingly most abstract surroundings -the opening title track in which Schweizer initially hints at Cecil Taylor is a good example. A relaxed vibe pervades the set, stemming from a perception that each can explore in whatever direction they choose no matter what the starting point. Although largely held in check, Bennink's sense of mischief manifests in the occasional irreverent thump -as on ballad stylings of "Free for all." Tenderness comes out on the lilting stroll of "I surrender, dear." But glorious extemporized syncopation proves their strongest suit, notably evident in the pianist's "Rag" and the jointly apportioned "To Misha with love." In the end, it's two people having fun in a way which everyone can share.

Track Listing: Welcome back; Kit 4; Trap 5; Free for all; Meet me tonight in dreamland; Verflixt; Rag; Bleu foncé; Apus melba; Ntyilo, Ntyilo; Firewood; To Misha with love; I surrender, dear; Eronel.

Personnel: Irene Schweizer: piano; Han Bennink: drums.

Title: Welcome Back | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Code Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Setembro" CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Without All the Chatter" CD/LP/Track Review Without All the Chatter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.