Jmmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille: Burnt Offering
Burnt Offering (Black Saint 120130)
Recorded: Allentown, PA, May 15, 1982
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Sax/drums duos are rare and perhaps a bit of an acquired taste. Other than John Coltrane/Rashied Ali and Anthony Braxton/Max Roach, not many have made a totally successful go of it. Alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and drummer Andrew Cyrille were and are consummate improvisers, however; they make a stab at it here to mostly good ends. Recorded live in concert, "Burnt Offering" is a 24-minute improvisation built upon Lyons' simple riff-based composition. Cyrille plays in a hard-swinging, medium-up tempo for the most part, although he chooses not to demarcate anything like a regular meter. Instead, his groupings are ever-changing, varying according to impulse and the requirements of his partner. He interacts extensively with Lyons, but keeps it swinging, first and foremost. As for Lyons, the extended playing time forces him to plumb the depths of his creativity. He draws upon all aspects of his style, from the nearly conventional bebop lines to the development of small motivs to the hyperdriven aural scribbling that Lyons did faster and more forcefully than any other altoist. Some might sense a hole in the middle of this music—a hole normally occupied by the bass. For those who can overcome such preconceptions, however, this is bound to inspire.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey