Porter

I’m afraid I can’t really see the need for this release, a live recording from June 2008 at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in New York featuring three big names of free jazz-related improvisation – Andrew Cyrille, Paul Dunmall and Henry Grimes – in what was their very first encounter. The bootleg quality of the large part of the audio content further undermines a performance which, despite Marc Medwin’s passionately transcendent liners, mostly appears as a series of joint blowouts and often monotonous solos rather than a collective revelation or a ritualistic communion of spirits. Playing free doesn’t necessarily imply that all the resulting products are or (worse) must be good enough to be brought to the attention of the aficionados, although some critics can’t afford to write a negative review of anything involving certain cult figures, or the promos won’t reach the mailbox anymore. Apart from an electrifying bagpipe/violin passage in “Call Paul” and the fervent interplay in the encore “Futurity”, this music left me cold, my focus gradually dwindling amidst plenty of muddled bass plucking and untidy rolling-and-rumbling. Dunmall’s immeasurable pulmonary force can’t save the day, and the howling audience and the repeated “yeahs” are worn-out components of the routine – remember Frank Zappa’s “Make A Jazz Noise Here”? Sure, being there would have been different, instead of listening at home to what sounds like a second-generation cassette copy of a fairly ordinary set.

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