The Boston Phoenix
September 18 - 25, 1997

[Music Reviews]

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*** The Andrew Cyrille Trio


(Soul Note)

"Bu" was the late Art Blakey, and it would be harder to find two more different drum stylists than he and Cyrille. Blakey's drumming was about exuberance and bold primary colors, broad gestures, gospel shouts. Cyrille swings just as hard, but his playing is about metric precision, and the rainbow spectrum of dynamics from wire brush on cymbal to bare palm on drum skins. Blakey crowded his Jazz Messengers with a chorus of braying brass. Cyrille reduces his group to percussion, bass (Lisle Atkinson), and flute (James Newton). But in this narrow dynamic range, Cyrille finds Blakey's emotional heft -- in the furious propulsion of his drumming, the directness of the blues and standard song forms he and the band stick to, and Newton's unlimited technique of mutiphonics, high whistled tones, vocalizations, and fiercely articulated lines. Cyrille cut his chops with the avant-garde (Cecil Taylor), but there are a few dandy hummable tunes here.

-- Jon Garelick
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