You can hardly find a better match to Keith Tippett's passionate "sturm und drang" improvising than Peter Fairclough's percussion work. His cymbal washes and drum rolls make the perfect companions to the pianist's soundtrack for a tempest at sea. Imago culls recordings from two performances a month apart in late 2001. The ship sets sail with "The February Sea," a gentle introduction to the duo's work. Tippett appears immediately to be in a tonal mood, letting instant melodies and chord progressions emerge from his rolling waves of bass notes and relentless trickles in the high register. A fade out after six minutes seems to indicate an edit, so maybe the 45-minute "Imago" is actually a (quite larger) chip from the same block. Less challenging than the improvisations of Mujician, it still provides a mighty listen. And pursuing the above metaphor, here the ship reaches the open sea and runs into a number of storms before finding its port -- Mongezi Feza's "You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'cos You Think You Know Me," which Tippett literally lands on for a one-minute coda. In the meantime the pianist has explored the whole range of his instrument, including the judicious placement of objects on the bass strings, and Fairclough has gone from concert percussion touches to full drum kit playing and back to more textural interventions. Two shorter and more abstract pieces complete the album, but their power is lessened by the formidable ride that preceded them.
AllMusic Review by François Couture