Andrew Cyrille

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It is a shame that more jazz drummers have not created solo recordings of this quality, or that the ones who do make solo recordings so often choose much less interesting conceptual formats than Cyrille did on this afternoon of drumming in Paris in the late '60s. The selections are each clearly defined as to where they are going and present an overwhelming sense of love for the drum set, as if each movement around its rims and cymbals could become a chapter in a life story. A player who had created a free jazz style from hard bop beginnings mostly by being dropped into the sound maelstrom of the Cecil Taylor ensembles, Cyrille here is delighted by the availability of space, the chance for cymbals to completely ring out, for silence to so richly bolster his movements, be they slow-and-steady shuffling or the intense prancing of a jazz drum master. While there are many listeners who run from solo percussion recordings as if they were muggers in the night, this is one that really deserves a chance. It is intensely musical, not indulging in the all-too-often course of presenting indulgent rhythmic tricks or philosophical meanderings about the spiritual meaning of the drum. Cyrille himself got into this latter bent on some of his duo recordings with Milford Graves, but here approaches his creations as if he had managed to rise above most stereotypical notions of jazz drumming. This is one of the most refreshing sets of drum solos ever recorded, also superior to other sets this artist himself has recorded for other labels such as the Italian Ictus.

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