There are some jazz labels that deserves kudos (and a statue for the people behind the labels), and one of those is Ayler Records from Sweden, another one is Clean Feed from Portugal. I'll get more into their catalogues and merits at some other time. Suffice it to say now that those labels release excellent albums with a good balance of "well-known" free jazz artists and some by young, upcoming artists.
And Ayler records did it again : the release of the great album by Fred Anderson & Harrison Bankhead, and it is great from beginning to end. Four tracks of 15 to 20 minutes, each with long improvizations on given themes, and it is inspiring music, fun to hear, a joy for the attentive listener. Technical and musical skills abound, but the players' main focus is on the common project : the musical end result. And although there's nothing new in Anderson's approach, his warm tone, his long and elegant phrasing, his lyricism and rhythmic attack, are among the best he's played and in line with the superb quality he brought on all his released performances of the past few years. And Bankhead is really great to hear on bass, both arco and pizzi, not in a supporting role but as a co-leader as it should be in the duet format. The fact that it was recorded live also adds to the fun, with the audience participating attentively and enthusiastically. This CD will not change the course of music history, but it will definitely give you some moments to savor.
Click here for a short clip from YouTube