Sunday, November 04, 2018

Andrew Cyrille / Wadada Leo Smith / Bill Frisell - Lebroba (ECM, 2018)

This is a beautiful album from revered veterans Andrew Cyrille on drums and percussion, Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet and Bill Frisell on guitar. Cyrille's developed the album's title Lebroba as a contraction of the birthplaces of the creators of this music which ranges from all shades of jazz to West African music and shades of the blues. "Worried Woman" begins the album with dusty and ghostly trumpet and guitar, joined by percussion in a fearless improvisation, with golden toned trumpet arcing high in the sky framed by guitar accents. Cyrille's drums are everywhere, casting a spectral backdrop for the beams of pure trumpet sound and a collective improvisation that is stoic and powerful, with Smith at his grandest and Cryille playing the improvising Loki, changing shape at will. This is followed by the epic tribute "Turiya:Alice Coltrane Meditations and Dreams:Love" which proceeds like a hymnal or procession, with Cyrille's deftly played cymbals meeting patient trumpet with a quiet sense of purity. The quality of experience exuded by these musicians is potent as crisp trumpet solos over low percussion and spare guitar chords. Frisell is the wild card here and on the album as a whole, he shouldn't work, but does, adding just the right touch and stepping aside at just the right time. Cyrille develops this track in a state of grace, he doesn't need to overplay, just add subtle shading, color and framing. Spare long tones from trumpet and guitar hang in space, joined by the drummer whose very stroke is individually placed. This is a long improvisation, over seventeen minutes, that gains it success from the respect the players have for each other and the honoree. "Lebroba" has guitar and drums playing in a light and frisky manner, giving the memorable theme a clear Frisellian stamp. Smith's pinched trumpet gives the music a late night noir feeling, spacious and mysterious, and Frisell's guitar solo slowly builds the drama in a cinematic fashion, that is further extended by Smith's and Cyrille's retorts. There are free sounding cymbals and smears of electronics from the guitar on "TGD." The electric freak out is initially a shock, but neither the trumpeter or drummer are fazed in the slightest, rippling forth with muscular playing amidst the scalding electric guitar. It is weird but worthy and keeps the track interesting, breaking out the entire arsenal of effects, balanced by the acoustic trumpet and drums. As if to prove they can do anything, the album ends with an absolutely stunning ballad called "Pretty Beauty," with soft and emotional trumpet and guitar meeting natural and haunting shimmering cymbals and deft brushwork. This is a quiet mainstream jazz treat, sure to stump the recipient of any blindfold test, as the music gradually blooms with patience and beauty and approaches Zen grace. Cyrille's brushes are a constant, ever shifting, as the shining trumpet rises like the breaking dawn. Lebroba -

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