Improvised music and rare compositions for drum set & double bass
DL is hi res 24 bit 96kHz.
New liner notes!
As important as a telepathic rhythm section can be to the sound of a great creative music unit,
it’s very rare to have the opportunity to hear a bassist and drummer workshop ideas on their
own, much less create an album that showcases the results. Song For Chico is a study of
interaction and a complete piece of recorded work that joins contrabassist and master of
extended techniques Damon Smith (b. 1972) and veteran drummer Alvin Fielder (1935-2019)
for a program of six improvisations that also refer to the music of Cecil Taylor, Chico Hamilton
(who passed shortly before the session), and Johnny Dyani.
On the face of things, the pairing is unique — Fielder, who worked with Sun Ra and was in the
AACM as well as being part of long-term collaborations with saxophonist Kidd Jordan and
pianist Joel Futterman, was and is old-school. An archivist and historian of modern jazz
drumming, his dry and didactic swing provides thick forward motion as well as a history lesson.
Smith, while certainly schooled in jazz, works from a more events-oriented approach,
positioning the bass as a front line voice where its standard rhythmic applications are grist for an
often visual, performative mill. They met in 2010 on a gig with Houston trombonist David Dove
and saxophonist Jason Jackson, eventually recording and performing with reedman Frode
Gjerstad and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee. As Smith puts it, “Alvin showed me wider ideas
about swing, that all of our work together was swinging and it was also free. We were able to
explore texture in a real way and land right back on quarter notes together. I feel like our work
was grounded between free improvisation and jazz as opposed to free jazz. The most profound
thing was in a conversation about Cecil’s drummers: he said Andrew Cyrille was the most
adventurous with swing. That reordered everything for me and made me understand my
position as an American improvisor better.” Therefore, this duo is a balancing point between
tradition and another place.
– Clifford Allen, May 2020
released September 11, 2016
Alvin Fielder - drums
Damon Smith - double bass
Design by Alan Anzalone
Recorded Nov. 30th 2013 by Ryan Edwards at (h) HUmid Recorder Houston , TX
Mixed and Mastered by Ryan Edwards
Cover drawing: Bogenlampen by Sven‑Åke Johansson
supported by 30 fans who also own “BPA -6 Song For Chico”
So happy to see a new album from this band. I've long been a fan of Mazurek and Parker's work in Tortoise, on top of the CUQ... Anyhow, if you're curious about contemporary jazz, this is a terrific place to start.