Jimmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille: Exotique
Burnt Offering (Black Saint 120130)
Recorded: Allentown, PA, May 15, 1982
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
The shortest of the three tracks that make up the album Burnt Offerings, "Exotique" still clocks in at almost ten minutes—a lot of time for a drummer and saxophonist to fill without the help of a bassist and/or pianist. Lyons and Cyrille being as resourceful as they are, the space is packed to the brim, with ideas to spare. Cyrille establishes a quasi Latin/North African beat heavy on the cymbals and tom-toms, which he maintains and varies beneath Lyons, who spins Ornette-ish lines leavened by his own distinctive bop-flavored eccentricities. The pair gain intensity, momentum, and speed in the course of the performance, achieving high levels of intensity. The recording quality is rather lo-fi, but live performances of this sort are often better experienced as a sort of audio-verite, anyway. Disappointingly, the track fades at a point when the duo is raising the level of creativity and excitement further. One cannot help but question the wisdom of that decision, for what precedes the fade is sublime.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey