December 2003

Jemeel Moondoc/Denis Charles
We Don't
Eremite Records

Anyone who thinks there are no second acts in creative music should consider the comeback of Denis Charles, whose raw thrilling introduction to the 1960 Cecil Taylor classic "Air" merits inclusion in any survey of jazz drumming. After years off the scene, Charles emerged in the late '70s, and assumed an elder stateman's role by the time of his passing in 1998. A passionate duo exchange with alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, We Don't (Eremite) is a fine companion volume to a 1991 recording issued under Charles' leadership, Captain of the Deep (Eremite), which also featured Moondoc. Recorded less than three months after the quartet date, the duo revisits the traditional Caribbean tune that kick-started the quartet date, triangulating the folk material with Ayler-like intensity. From there, the duo stokes up three Moondoc originals, including the buoyant "Judy's Bounce," highlighted by a joyfully elemental Charles solo. We Don't is a welcomed addition to both musicians' respective discographies.

Originally published in December 2003

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