Fred Anderson/Hamid Drake Back Together Again!

These two master musicians have a long history together — over 25 years — and their telepathic communication is well in evidence here. Anderson's days of being the least documented tenorman in Chicago history are finally behind him. One can't avoid many fine recent recordings and reissues in the last several years. He's still going strong well into his seventies, playing super-soulful, confident, adventurous sax. He's a great entry point into all things AACM — just a joy to listen to, embodying pretty much every development in Afro-American saxophony in a career that stretches back to the forties. Drake is also amazingly soulful, and has gotten even better over the years, his superlative fractured grooves now evident not only on drum kit, but on dumbek and other hand drums. This duet is exactly what anyone familiar with these musicians would expect, and hardly ever lets up. John McIntyre's sensitive recording emphasises subtle tonal differences from track to track, which keeps the approaches fresh. It's hard to pick highlights from such a solid set, but "Louisiana Strut" is a second line celebration of their shared home state, and Drake's Buddhist chanting lends a truly spiritual quality to the disc's closer "Lama Khyenno.” No surprises to be sure — but when two giants get together to make great music, we should be thankful that it can be shared all around the world. (Thrill Jockey)