The Upshot: Veteran jazz drummer understands that space is the place.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Drummer Andrew Cyrille’s career stretches back to the early ‘60s and his work with vibraphonist Walt Dickerson and sax legend Coleman Hawkins, and he’s been an important part of landmark albums by the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, Charlie Haden, Marion Brown and, most prolifically, free jazz giant Cecil Taylor. For The Declaration of Musical Independence, his fourteenth LP as a leader, Cyrille assembles a team of veterans, including guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Ben Street and peer Richard Teitelbaum on keyboards, for a program of compositions that take advantage of open space. With arrangements that avoid clutter and sheets of sound (ironic, given that the album opens with John Coltrane’s “Coltrane Time”), the air between the notes on Street’s “Say” and Frisell’s “Kaddish” carries as much weight as the notes themselves. Teitlebaum’s “Herky Jerky” and Frisell’s “Song For Andrew No.1” get busy with rhythm and more complicated lines, but even they leave room to breathe.
The approach reaches its zenith on collective improvisations like “Manfred” and “Sanctuary,” where Cyrille’s insistent kit work pushes his musicians briskly through the wide open spaces like a drill sergeant whipping his charges forward. ECM as a label is known for this kind of airy production, but few musicians make as good a use of its space as does Cyrille on The Declaration of Musical Independence.
DOWNLOAD: “Sanctuary,” “Say,” “Song For Andrew No. 1”