Irène Schweizer

Willisau & Taktlos

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AllMusic Review by

Hamid Drake's ascent in the world of improvised music rendered unavoidable his meeting with Irène Schweizer, a pianist who has a rich history of collaborations with drummers and enjoys playing drums in her spare time. The opening piece recorded at the Taktlos Festival features the two of them in a long and multifarious conversation during which Schweizer constantly challenges Drake, whose stamina is essential to the music's focus. The other three improvisations come from a different performance that took place at the Willisau Festival and for which they were joined by one of Drake's mentors, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. His addition does not disturb the chemistry the two other protagonists have already established and he is clearly careful to support their rapport. His laid-back demeanor is deceiving, though, and he can subtly inject new ideas or suggest new directions. The pianist also knows when to step back and let her two cohorts have a private moment. Her trademark translucent and fleet runs, her bouncy progressions, and her forays into South African territory reminiscent of Abdullah Ibrahim are delightful; she can also be whimsical when she plays hide and seek with Anderson at the end of "Trinity." The quieter passages certainly betray her European origins, but are not a distraction from this otherwise energetic, soulful, and pleasurable set.

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