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Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake: A Night In November

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This is unenjoyable-not just listening to A Night in November but savaging an album by two of improvised music’s all-time greats. Saxophonist Kidd Jordan and drummer Hamid Drake have made plenty of jaw-dropping recordings over their lengthy careers. They even did so together in 1999, along with saxophonist Fred Anderson and bassist William Parker, on the marvelous 2 Days in April. Here, they seem lost and out of synch.

Hard to believe, but this is Jordan’s first duo album. He says he’s more comfortable playing off of piano and bass, and it shows. There’s a lot of aimless, repetitive squealing, squawking, honking and noodling amid these 70-plus minutes, and it’s evident that he doesn’t always know how to react to Drake’s rhythm-making, which often seems uncharacteristically tentative. From the beginning, something seems off. Drake, known for his relentless energy and restless genre-jumping, can’t quite settle into anything, can’t quite get his thoughts down, which is a real shame because he may be the greatest drummer free jazz has ever seen. Jordan, meanwhile, repeats phrases-or, rather, bunches of notes-over and over, going nowhere.

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