lundi 24 mai 2010

Milford Graves - Meditation Among Us

Kaoru Abe: sopranino & alto saxophones
Mototeru Takagi: tenor saxophone
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet, alto horn
Toshiyuki Tsuchitori: drums, percussion
Milford Graves: drums, percussion, piano, voice

Reviewby Thom Jurek

Recorded in 1977, Meditation Among Us is the collaboration of American vanguard jazz drummer Milford Graves with a Japanese jazz quartet which included trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, saxophonist Kaoru Abe, drummer Toshi Tsuchitori (who also plays piano on this session), and bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa. There are two long selections here, credited to Graves, but they feel like completely free improvisations. The blowing intensity on any Graves' date is intense, but here it is over the top, as the Japanese players attempt to match his intensity -- something they only succeed at in part. The reedy tones of Kondo and Abe contrast well with Graves tom-tom heavy approach, but as the drummer continually plays in triple, and even quadruple time, their soloing comes off more as bleats of sound than an articulation of musical ideas. In other words, this date, feels more like tonal improvisation at a very fast pace, rather than any extended harmonic engagement. To whit, there is also a distinct lack of dynamic tension here, as everything is played in overdrive, making listening an arduous chore after 15 minutes, rather than revelation.


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