Cecil at his bing-bong-best
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a double album taken from Cecil's two nights in East Berlin during his classic extended stay in West Berlin in 1988 that spawned the many other 'black' FMP discs originally released as a box set. The two discs here include a solo concert and a duet with the German drummer Gunther Sommer. The solo concert is in my opinion his best -- and I am partial to his soloing and own a lot of solo concerts by Cecil with which to compare. The three part Reinforced Concrete includes some simply amazing, and aptly named, playing including plenty of dense forearm work on the Bosendorfer -- he's really beating the keys into submission on this one. He then entertains the crowd with four brief encores which bring the concert to more than 70 minutes of playing. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The duet with Sommmer (the three-part PUUC) is a raucous, free-spirited exchange that's full of energy and at times gets Cecil shouting and growling on top of everything. Sommer's drum kit is curious -- in addition to the standard drums it includes tympani, tubular bells, organ pipes, a whistle, and what sounds like a car and later even a truck horn, all of which make noticeable appearances. The dialogue between them is rich and full of humor, similar to their first meeting on "Riobec" recorded a few days earlier.
Great stuff -- the pairing of the discs make it an investment and a bit of an obscurity, but these are gems from the already excellent Berlin series and therefore worth the investment... provided of course you are enlightened enough to absorb Cecil's playing."