Abdullah Ibrahim / Max Roach

Streams of Consciousness

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Abdullah Ibrahim and Max Roach entered the studio in 1977 with no preplanning of any kind, producing a powerful session of duo improvisation in Streams of Consciousness. Their long opener, the title track, is never dull, even at 21 minutes. Roach provides unaccompanied segues as Ibrahim repeatedly ducks out and returns powerful themes one after another (each one complemented beautifully by the drummer). They touch on African chants, gospel-like themes, and a bit of avant-garde. "Acclamation" has the feeling of being composed, building to a feverish pitch before ending quietly with Roach's unaccompanied cymbals. Roach is initially at the forefront of "Consanguinity," with Ibrahim inserting brief, choppy chords, though the pianist takes on a much greater role as it progresses, finishing with a wave of tremolo chords. Sadly, they have yet to record together in the decades following this remarkable recording.

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