Kali Z Fasteau is pianist, flutist, cellist, vocalist who has traveled extensively, and lived abroad, and has an impressive vita that includes work free jazz luminaries like Archie Shepp, Oliver Lake, Joe McPhee, Hamid Drake and Noah Howard just to name a random few. This I’m gleaning from her website. Yes, as you can tell, I’m new to her music and so far, very happy to have been introduced. Fasteau's recent Piano Raptures is an exciting mix of solo and duo pieces performed with sympathetic collaborators including saxophonist's Kidd Jordan, L. Mixashawn Rozie, J.D. Parran and percussionist Ron McBee.
The lovely somewhat low-fi recording begins with rapture #1, titled 'Another Southpaw.' Intense and sometimes jarring, one can easily imagine Fasteau approaching the piano with intense physicality. The playing is kinetic and it seems like the act of playing the tonal clusters and rhythmic motifs is an important part of the approach. The next track, 'Body Wisdom' features Rozie and the interaction of the piano and the saxophonist is wonderful. Rozie builds up the music in small waves of sound, over the roiling sea of piano. "Faun Listening" with Edward Kidd Jordan, begins with Fasteau concentrating on the lower end of the keyboard as Jordan delivers impressive waves of melody, as the track continues, Fasteau's accompaniment is an explosive mix of support and agitation and she slowly brings things to a boil. 'Hai Tachi' is a solo piano piece where Fasteau's Cecil Taylor like approach is on full display. 'Roy's Wake', which I assume is dedicated to the late Roy Campbell is absolutely haunting - the mix of synthesizer, vocalization and Rozie's quiet accompaniment is rightfully meditative and forlorn, and a perfect set up for the end where the sax breaks out.
This is a very interesting album and one I keep coming back to - the spontaneity of the music just teems with life. Even after years of listening to free music music, it never ceases to amaze me when those elusive and intangible elements come together to create something that goes beyond expectation and deliberate planning. Fasteau's music draws heavily upon her experiences and really just as much in the musical relationships that she has with the people who have joined her on this latest adventure.