Two rare virtuosos
James W. Goetsch | Studio City, CA. USA | 06/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two rare virtuosos with staggering abilities, yet they always keep technique subservient to the music itself. The net result is riveting performances that few players can match in 2002. I just saw the duo at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, and they owned the crowd for the full hour and half with an extremely varied program very similar to this live record. Surman moves from baritone sax to bass clarinet, soprano sax, a MIDI wind controller, and a little keyboard as well. DeJohnette plays the drum set as few can these day, throwing out a barrage of rhythms of stunning complexity on one piece, then playing the sparsest of work in the next. He has integrated into his set an electronic playing pad that he can use to trigger some ambient sequences or bass lines, but the most impressive use of this is for his tabla program that is indistinguishable from the real. The compositions appear to be fairly loose sketches that each have a distinct character, while providing loads of freedom to go any direction they want. The grooves move from ambient to fast jazz to megafunk to ethnic and more, including a duo with DeJohnette on his first instrument, piano. We can only hope that ECM / Universal re-releases the original album of these two, "The Amazing Adventures of Simon Simon"."