8

Irene Schweizer / Han Bennink: Welcome Back

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Irene Schweizer / Han Bennink: Welcome Back 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 I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Seven Secrets" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Secrets
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Through The Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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