Live at Glenn Miller Café
It is no small coincidence that this explosive tenor sax and drums duet project was released on Ayler Records. Throughout this riveting live performance, recorded in late 2002 at the Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm, saxophonist Tsahar unleashes with the abandon of Albert Ayler while Drake underscores the white-hot intensity with the muscular, polyrhythmic aplomb of a Sunny Murray on steroids. On five searing encounters, Drake establishes grooves while simultaneously playing melodies against his own pulse, and Tsahar leaps into the fray with skronkified delight. This works on a sheer visceral level, though midway through the 17-minute “Warriors of Stillness” I could’ve used at least one key change.
Their supercharged interplay on “Praying Mantis,” fueled by Drake’s insistently swinging ride cymbal sizzle, reaches Interstellar Space levels of intensity while they establish a poetic rapport on the late Peter Kowald’s “Mother and Father,” which highlights the percussionist’s melodic approach to the kit. “Handing Clouds” is a conversation between thunderous drums and squealing multiphonics, while the mournful ode “Grasp the Bird’s Tail” is underscored by Drake’s sensitive brushwork. They conclude on a buoyant note with a brief, tongue-in-cheek referencing of Sonny Rollins’ calypso-flavored “St. Thomas.”