Irene Schweizer / Hamid Drake / Fred Anderson Live at Willisau/Taktlos

Irene Schweizer / Hamid Drake / Fred Anderson Live at Willisau/Taktlos
Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer excels in a duo. Two years ago, Intakt Records put out a sampler of duets with Gunter Sommer, Louis Moholo, Andrew Cyrille and many more that showed her ability to relate to a wide variety of players. She’s got huge ears (not literally) and can thrust and parry with anyone she meets, provoking her duet partners to bring something unexpected from their repertoire. She has worked with Drake before, but this disc features the venerable Fred Anderson, who has known Drake since his teen years. Drake is an astonishing drummer with unbelievable funk, but what’s most amazing about him on this disc is his melodic sense. The first ten minutes see Schweizer and Drake sketching along the margins of a shared rhythm, with a lightning fast push and pull. Then both go for the gutbucket and meld one crunchy rhythmic vamp into another. When Anderson joins in, there seems to be an air of familiarity at first due to the many recordings he and Drake have made together. Then Schweizer’s skronky South African soul starts giving Anderson different ideas and a truly effective three-way conversation ensues. Two shorter tracks are probably encores and don’t hit the heights of the first two pieces but this disc is well worth experiencing for 45 sublime minutes. (Intakt)