Muhal Richard Abrams: Drumman Cyrille
Muhal Richard Abrams (piano)
Colors In Thirty-Third (Black Saint 0091)
Composed by Muhal Richard Abrams.
Recorded: New York, December 19, 1986
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Muhal Richard Abrams has created music for myriad contexts, from solo piano improvisations to visionary big band compositions. This elaborately conceived piece for jazz quartet is yet another example of his multifaceted talent.
The track's title refers—naturally enough—to the drummer on the date, the redoubtable Andrew Cyrille, who has over the years played on more than his share of great avant-jazz recordings. Count this as another. Abrams obviously conceived this tune in part (but not only) as a showcase for Cyrille. It succeeds, showing-off Cyrille's nimble, light-handed manner of swinging a band; his ability to interpret Abrams' sophisticated start-and-stop rhythms; and his considerable skills as a soloist. Tenor saxophonist John Purcell gets plenty of solo room, which he uses to good advantage, blowing athletic free-bop lines over the energetic groove struck by Cyrille and bassist Fred Hopkins.
Abrams's improvisation is no less sophisticated and well-conceived than his tune. This music is inventive, knotty, and eccentric—products of a supremely well-organized (and delightfully unorthodox) jazz intellect.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey