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November 1997

Andrew Cyrille and Richard Teitelbaum
Double Clutch
Silkheart

Provocative, adventurous encounter between the intuitive drum master and the remarkable pre-MIDI analog synth pioneer (a member of the groundbreaking Musica Elettronica Viva of the '60s). Cyrille established himself in the vanguard of jazz drumming back in 1964 through his association with Cecil Taylor and has proven himself to be a fearless, uncompromising collaborator over the years with the likes of Vladimir Tarasov, David Murray, Horace Tapscott, Muhal Richard Abrams and Pieces Of Time, the percussion ensemble he formed in 1969 with Milford Graves, Don Moye and bop pioneer Kenny Clarke. Although he has the ability to swing his ass off in the proper context-captured on sessions with everyone from Coleman Hawkins and Illinois Jacquet to Freddie Hubbard and Walt Dickerson-Cyrille exhibits a particularly daring spirit in more open-ended solo, duo and trio settings. On his own gigs with Reggie Workman and Oliver Lake, he often resorts to playing the shells of his drums, playing the drum seat itself, playing the floor, the wall, his face...however the spirit moves him. Paired here with the random squeaks, skronks and tweet-twiddle-dee-breeeees of brainiac Teitelbaum's square-wave generator and single-board digital processor, Cyrille reacts instinctively and entirely without clichŽs on this freely improvised session, originally recorded in 1981 at Soundscape in New York City.

A zen-like use of space predominates on "Dance Astral" while they explore more kinetic ground on "San Andreas Fault" and the title track, which features some brilliantly coloristic snare work by Cyrille. "Sliding On A Bubble" is a rather mysterious ambient number that also describes Cyrille's impressions of the piece itself: "Imagine one sliding on a fragile, somewhat slippery, delicate, wafting bubble moving through the air." They close on a more turbulent note with "Driving Pistons," an apt description of Teitelbaum's ominous synth pulse here.

No, it ain't swinging. One must have an open mind to take in this "difficult music." But for those who can deal with the melding of cold technology and the human spirit, Double Clutch strikes an intriguing chord indeed.

Originally published in November 1997
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