Five tracks in all, mostly quite long, each clocking in at between nine and 17-and-a-minutes, the New York Art Quartet drummer Milford Graves, whose recording career goes back to working with Montego Joe in 1964, here in empathetic duo with prolific prog jazz bass guitarist Bill Laswell.
Recorded in a New Jersey studio in the latter part of 2013, included in the sleeve notes is a poetic reaction by Umar Bin Hassan to each piece. For instance ‘Another Space’, the centrepiece of the album, warns with no small degree of weight: “The voice of defiance becomes my strongest voice.”
An inner resolve and a stillness are both important throughout this compelling album but particularly the beginning of ‘Sonny Sharrock’ (named for the guitarist who was a member of Laswell 1980s band Last Exit), the bass slipping and sliding through pitch bends while the rapid reverb clouds to speckle with electronic shrieks, Graves coming in like thunder.
The drummer, whose work in the last 15 years has included album spots with Anthony Braxton as well as his own solo drum albums, has a masterful way with bells and their adoption sometimes adds a pastoral dream-like quality to some of the improvisations, their shimmer cicada-like on ‘Another Time’. SG