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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

William Parker & Hamid Drake - Volume 2 - Summer Snow (AUM Fidelity, 2007) ****

William Parker and Hamid Drake, where have we heard these two names before? Not only on bass and drums this time, but also on doson'ngoni (African guitar-like instrument), shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and a whole array of smaller percussion. With these ingredients the two masters create an intimate polyrhythmic worldjazzfestival on their own, a spiritual quest to the essence of music and interplay, now happy, then trance-inducing, or again hypnotic, or sad, or quietly meditative, ... but above all, these two musicians enjoy what they're doing, simple, composed, yet musically rich and well attuned to each other. There is in fact only one real jazzy piece on the album, "Anaya Dancing" a duet of drums and bass and here they perform every trick of their trade demonstrating what keeps them together all this years : changes in tempo, laying accents where needed, bopping, freaking out, leaving space, prompting the other one, anticipating, reorganizing the rhythms, you name it ... they do it here and with what kind of joy! Music can be fun.

Lafayette Gilchrist & Hamid Drake - Duets Live At The Vision Festival (Hyena Records, 2007) **

And what a difference we find on this album. Lafayette Gilchrist is a piano player with a peculiar own style, noisy, all over the keyboard, droning, thundering, always chasing forward, without leaving any space or rest points, and the way he improvizes on this CD, I often wonder whether he knows where he's going. The title is "Duets", yet at moments I also wonder whether Gilchrist is even aware that a drummer is accompanying him, just to say how limited the interaction is between both. Gilchrist keeps pushing forward and Drake tries to get a grip on what's happening, but often to no avail, and whatever Drake does, Gilchrist doesn't seem to listen. Lafayette Gilchrist's first solo CD had something special because it brought something new, but this is not a memorable recording.

Both CD's can be downloaded on