Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Andrew Cyrille with Haitian Fascination - Route De Freres (TUM Records, 2011)

Recorded in 2005 in New York City and finally seeing the light of day, this impressive album by drummer Andrew Cryille was inspired by by visits to his ancestral homeland of Haiti. Cyrille is considered one of the most creative and versatile percussionists in modern jazz, equally at home in a modern mainstream setting as with avant-garde music, and perhaps best known for his membership in the Cecil Taylor’s band during which he established his position as one of the leading percussionists in freely improvised jazz. Since the 1970s, Cyrille has led or co-led a number of ensembles, and on this album he is accompanied by Hamiet Bluiett on baritone saxophone, Alix Pascal on acoustic guitar, Lisle Atkinson on bass and Frisner Augustin percussion and vocals. Far from a free-jazz blowout, this album features nimble percussion & brushes; acoustic guitar and bass with accents of saxophone. Respect for heritage and search for peace in Haiti drives the musical message on this album. “Hope Springs Eternal” makes the message clear, that despite natural disasters and crippling poverty the Haitian culture is vibrant and undaunted. Detailed and patient percussion from the leader and with subtle guitar and Bluiett playing the edges of the music, circling and picking his solo opportunities well as he does on “Isaura.” Three part suite “Route de Frères” builds off the gestalt of Haitian tradition combined with jazz, making for a heady mix of multi-ethnic music. “C’mon Baby” is an upbeat and danceable tune anchored by a very nice percussion solo as is “Mais” a percussion duet based on a Haitian folk melody. The music is light and breezy and quite accessible, Cyrille leads with a light touch and the melding of island rhythms and jazz improvisation makes for an intoxicating mixture. Route De Freres -

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