Andrew Cyrille: Lebroba (ECM 2589)


Andrew Cyrille

Wadada Leo Smith trumpet
Bill Frisell guitar
Andrew Cyrille drums
Recorded July 2017 at Reservoir Studios, New York
Engineer: Rick Kwan
Produced by Sun Chung
Release date: November 2, 2018

When drummer Andrew Cyrille broke tension with The Declaration of Musical Independence in 2016, the universe seemed to beg for more. And so, with producer Sun Chung at the helm, he stepped into the studio again, this time retaining guitarist Bill Frisell and adding only trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith to the mix. Then again, “mix” is far from the appropriate word here, as the trio unifies under the influence of processes far beyond the stirring of some proverbial pot would imply.

Among the many excitations of Lebroba is the fact that it marks the first occasion for Frisell and Smith to record together. “Worried Woman” almost makes one lament this fact, as the two are clearly suited for each other, especially when bonded by Cyrille’s chemical reactions. This opening tune, written by the guitarist, is architected as preface to Smith’s four-part tribute to Alice Coltrane. Taking her spiritual presence as inspiration, and prompting the musicians via both graphic scores and standard notation, he leads as comfortably as he recedes, pushing terrain beneath him as an earthly treadmill. Frisell and Cyrille, meanwhile, deepen their cosmic relationship without the merest flicker of predetermination, opting instead for a freer correspondence within boundaries before breaking down the set to drums alone: a master class in psychosomatic response.

The bandleader’s title track, a fractured blues for the 21st century, reveals its treasures just enough to sense their shine yet without letting on the nature of their constitution. As in his “Pretty Beauty,” which ends things as they began, it erases as many words as it writes across a palimpsest of self-awareness. Between them is the spontaneously created “TGD,” which sounds like the autopsy of a laser gun performed by someone who’s taught the procedure a thousand times before. Its forensic qualities are superseded only by an overwhelming delicacy of intuition, which now more than ever touches the ears with unerring relevance.

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