By Bill Milkowski | Published January 2019
Free-jazz drumming icon Andrew Cyrille shows no sign of slowing down. At 79, he remains as wide open to the melodic possibilities of his instrument as he was on 1969’s What About? and 1974’s Dialogue Of The Drums with Milford Graves. On his second ECM release, Cyrille again is paired with the endlessly inventive guitarist and fellow melodicist Bill Frisell. Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith rounds out this remarkably creative and empathetic triumvirate.
Frisell’s lonesome blues “Worried Woman” has guitar and trumpet exchanging bold melodic nuggets as Cyrille traverses the kit with a light, interactive touch that creates a loosely swinging pulse. Frisell’s sped-up looping spreads pixie dust on this haunting opener. Smith’s dramatic dedication to Alice Coltrane, “Turiya (Alice Coltrane Meditations And Dreams: Love),” unfolds gradually over four movements with Cyrille nimbly shifting from open-ended rubato playing to West African polyrhythms and an earthy blues shuffle. His title track is a minor blues that features Frisell’s guitar swimming in echo and Smith’s muted trumpet alternately issuing plaintive long tones and buzzing like a swarm of bees.
Cyrille’s closer, “Pretty Beauty,” a tune as tender and affecting as Miles Davis’ “Flamenco Sketches” or Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1,” is underscored by the drummer’s alluring brushwork and Frisell’s patient chording, which highlights Smith’s beautiful lyricism on muted trumpet.
Rather than fronting the proceedings by flaunting his chops, Cyrille underscores Lebroba with a combination of grace, zen-like restraint and authority.
Lebroba: Worried Woman; Turiya (Alice Coltrane Meditations And Dreams: Love); Lebroba; TGD; Pretty Beauty. (42:27)
Personnel: Andrew Cyrille, drums; Bill Frisell, guitar; Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet.