Dialogue of the Drums

Andrew Cyrille / Milford Graves

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Dialogue of the Drums Review

by Brian Olewnick

Two drummers with roots in the groups of Cecil Taylor (among many others) joined forces for this live performance at Columbia University in 1974. Both musicians are steeped in African drum traditions as well as being free improvisers of the highest order, so it's not surprising that the resulting concert is highly rhythmic, densely "noisy," and always very imaginative. Utilizing an enormous arsenal of percussive instruments in addition to the standard drum set, Cyrille and Graves, as the album title suggests, engage in intense conversations with each other, interacting with loose precision and exploding into frenzies of clattering assault. Isolating the individual contributions is virtually fruitless, but one can discern Cyrille's patented foot stomps and body smackings, as well as Graves' vocalizations and call and response activities with the audience. The LP release is something of a collector's item, but the bracing and unusual music make it one well worth seeking out.

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