Duets With Tyshawn Sorey & Special Guest Hugh Ragin
World Hive Records
This album of free-improv duets between saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and drummer and rising star of the improv scene (as both player and composer/multi-instrumentalist) Tyshawn Sorey includes some appearances by trumpeter Hugh Ragin; Mitchell’s old Association for the Advancement of Creative musicians buddy and sparring partner.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago saxophonist is in fine voice here – his horn moving from a soft-waft to punctuated bursts of noise, for the most part it’s a gentle rampage and the set-up, in most cases, is tinkering percussion, Mitchell joining Sorey to set the mood. From brief opener, The Horn, across the album’s introduction proper, The Way Home, the saxophone turns from late-night reverie to scurrying worry of sound.
Out There features bells and chimes only, glancing at the sound as much as actually presenting it before, with Scrunch, Ragin and Mitchell work in tandem against Sorey’s press-roll.
The business of A Cactus And A Rose and Chant provide midpoint highlights as the album rises to a peak, settling again with Meadows and a A Game of Catch before the excitement of Waves; a three-person big band sound, the horns dancing around the drums.
Mitchell, iconoclast of free jazz – a hero in liberating the sound in his head, allowing so many others to do the same as a result – sounds as good as he ever has. Here at 73 he continues to push the envelope, continues to create new pockets for his saxophone to hide in, picking when to explore and went to explode.
This series of duets – and occasional trios – showcases, as the title more than fairly asserts, the very fine work of Tyshawn Sorey and Hugh Ragin also.