Many albums come out each year documenting collaborations between giants in the worlds of avant garde jazz and improvised music. It's all but impossible to afford to own all of them, and would probably be impossible to have time to listen to them all even with a sufficiently large budget. In a field cluttered with interesting releases, several factors make this one outstanding. While tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson has been playing and recording for over thirty years, he's released far too few albums as a leader. Pairing Anderson and his frequent collaborator Hamid Drake (drums/percussion) with German bassist Peter Kowald, best known for his quite different work with Peter Brotzmann and Globe Unity Orchestra, could have led to a merely interesting footnote. Instead, their collaboration works remarkably well, often drawing out atypical aspects of everyone's playing. The music has wonderful rhythmic fluidity, coherent structures, and interesting textural nuances. The live recording, by Steve Mezger, captures the subtlety of the performances without feeling self-conscious or heavy-handed about doing so. The detail in each musician's execution is audible without being exaggerated or cartoon-like. The room ambiance of the live recording is unobtrusive, and gives a bit of a feel of being at the concert. A record that truly lives up to the potential of three great and diverse musicians collaborating. (OkkaDisc)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More