The Upshot: The music simply translates deep musical respect and chemistry into moments of artistic fire and great beauty – the sound of modern jazz in full flower.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Teacher and student, mentor and mentee – it’s a collaboration as old as human interaction. A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke displays that relationship as jazz. Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, whose career reaches back to the creative explosion that was Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, has long served as teacher to pianist Vijay Iver, whose star has swiftly risen in the past decade. With no rhythm section to get in the way, Iver and Smith simply let their relationship flow.
The multi-part title track, of which most of the record consists, stands as testament. Iver provides a constantly shifting background, moving rhythms to and fro and adding classical runs across the foundation. Smith contributes piercing open bell lead lines and soulful mute work, complimenting Iver’s playing rather than cutting through it, even when both are at their most rambunctious. The lack of a rhythmic anchor sometimes gives the songs more free form than they actually need – there’s a difference between playful interchange and self-indulgence. But most of the music simply translates deep musical respect and chemistry into moments of artistic fire and great beauty – the sound of modern jazz in full flower.
DOWNLOAD: “A Divine Courage,” “A Cold Fire,” “Marian Anderson”