Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ned Rothenberg and Hamid Drake - Full Circle: Live in Lodz (Fundacja Sluchaj, 2017)

This is an intimate and varied duet album featuring Ned Rothenberg on alto saxophone, clarinet and shakuhachi and Hamid Drake on drums and vocals which was recorded live in Poland, in July of 2016. Both men have quite a bit of experience in playing jazz and improvised music in various downtown settings and they bring this into a sympathetic meeting. They begin their performance with the lengthy "Full Beams Dazzling" which has strong and powerful saxophone playing met by muscular drumming that creates a flexible and vibrant combination. Rothenberg moves to clarinet for the succeeding piece, "Tupuri Gifts," which takes a more subtle approach with Drake developing an ever-shifting rhythm on drums and percussion, one that suits the music perfectly and allows the instruments to intertwine in a natural and organic manner. "Lotus Blooming in the Heart" takes the music in a more spiritual direction with Drake adding soulful vocalizing to soft and reverent percussion. Rothenberg adds the exotic shakuhachi to the mix creating a very charming and continuously interesting performance. They return to more traditional free jazz with "Full Circle" with the music unfolding gradually and episodically, without forcing anything. They finish the concert with another spiritual, playing a rich and vibrant version of the traditional standard "Wade in the Water" with Rothenberg's deep and rich saxophone met perfectly with Drake's gentle groove. This concert was very successful with two very talented and individual musicians meeting on common ground and creating spontaneous and memorable music. Full Circle: Live in Lodz -

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