Recorded at Urbis Orbis, Chicago, IL, October 19, 1995
Produced by: Bruno Johnson
Recorded by: Jim O’Rourke
Engineered by: John McCortney/Airwave
virtuoso Hamid Drake and reeds innovator Mats Gustafsson deliver
a jaw-dropping and all-too-brief set recorded in Chicago on Oct.
19, 1995, the day of Don Cherry’s death. One of the few live records
to make this listener earnestly wish she’d been in attendance, Drake
and Gustafsson’s meeting is a perfect example of the phenomenal
synergy possible between two musicians. The two in question are
an ideal match; both temper the muscularity of their playing with
sensitivity and musical sophistication. Neither artist allows the
other the option of sitting on his heels at any point; this recording
is challenging, intense, and enjoyable from start to finish.
it seems like they’re having fun; have a listen to the frenetic,
playful second piece, wherein Gustafsson presumably forgoes his
saxophones for a bit to yelp and whoop in response to Drake’s inspired
djembe playing. Gustafsson, frequently touted as a "rising star"
of European jazz, is in my opinion rarely matched among powerhouse
reedsmen in creativity. Meanwhile, the tireless and infallible Drake
delievers one of the more visceral and thrilling percussion solos
to make it to records. This is improvisation, and it rocks, to boot;
my favorite live record of the year. Only 600 copies entered the
world, so you know what that means.
Jae, ON AIR magazine, WKCR 89.9 FM (New York)