Milford Graves / Bill Laswell

Space/Time - Redemption

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This duet recording by the great free jazz drummer Milford Graves and bassist/producer Bill Laswell is remarkable on many levels. Given the multiplicity of his projects and his often heavy-handed approach, it is easy to think of Laswell as having skills as a producer and conceptualist that are equal to -- if not greater than -- his talents as an instrumentalist equally at home in jazz, funk, rock, and reggae. Space/Time - Redemption should go a long way toward reminding those who might have forgotten about his considerable abilities as an intuitive, deep-listening improviser. As for Graves, there are few recent examples of his lyrical, almost dance-like approach on the drum kit. When taken together, Laswell and Graves display an inherent and profound sensitivity in their approach to this material. While none of these five tracks is less than nine minutes long, there is precious little to any excess involved. Laswell uses a variety of voicings and effects to flesh out the tunes, adding economical ambient and echo effects not as sonic enhancements for their own sake, but as necessary textural elements that add dimension in a given improvisation. Examples are in "Autopossession" (which features truly astonishing tom-tom work by Graves) and the genuinely melodic "Sonny Sharrock" (which uses part of the melody from "Auld Lang Syne" as a jumping-off point). The two signposts "Another Space" and "Another Time" both commence sparingly and abstractly but pick up steam quickly and deliver plenty of heat. Space/Time - Redemption is a welcome engagement by two players communicating on a deep and intricate level, listening deeply while simultaneously going all-in.

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