Han Bennink / Irène Schweizer

Irene Schweizer & Han Bennink

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This is a recording that finds Han the Man of the dynamite drums "behaving himself," as he is fond of saying. He only behaves himself if he finds the situation really warrants it, such as in the case of a pianist playing some really straightforward, honest, and no-jive music. Jazz piano is often a realm of posers and fakers, whether they are flopping their hands around in an attempt to sound like Cecil Taylor or stringing along pentatonic scales with Herbie Hancock on their mind. The Swiss Miss Schweizer has absolutely developed her own style, going in the course of her career into piano-pounding and string-scraping free-form improvisation but by the time of this recording pursuing a slightly more mellow, aged-in-the-bottle elegance. Despite his reputation for disruption, Bennink is probably the best drummer possible for music such as this, as he provides swing without clutter and power without any loss of control. With recording pro Peter Pfister aiming the microphones, the sound is sure to be pristine, and doubling that pleasure is the fact that this is a live recording, meaning tougher and more durable than a studio session. The program balances improvised pieces with original tunes, then a touch of drum soloing, then a pair of happy standards to bring down the curtain.

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