Celebration is the latest duo piano-drums album by Irène Schweizer and this time with Hamid Drake. Celebration was released on April 16, 2021. The album was recorded live in Nickelsdorf, Austria (at the 40th Festival for Free and Improvised Music).
Irène Schweizer previously released 17 duo albums, of which 10 was with a drummer/percussionist.
One record with Louis Moholo (in 1987), with Günter Sommer (in 1988), with Andrew Cyrille (in 1989), with Mani Neumeier (in 1997), with Joey Baron (in 2017); two records with Han Bennink (in 1996 and 2015); and three records with Pierre Favre (in 1992, 2004, and 2013). Irène mentioned in 1990 “I love drummers and I love working with them” (she is a keen amateur drummer herself).
So of course, a new album with a new drummer seems to be the perfect way to celebrate. And celebrates what? Her music, her passion, her pleasure duetting with drummers, her links with Intakt Records? It certainly celebrates quite a lot at once, and never the less her upcoming 80th birthday.
Hamid Drake, as well as Andrew Cyrille and Joey Baron, was born in the United States. He has worked with Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp, or William Parker, widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and improvised music (Wikipedia).
The album is such a success.
It might seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning it (we don’t do stars, but it would be a full mark for sure here). Once more the duet format works so very well and the two of them manage to find both cohesion and freedom.
And even if Celebration lasts for less than 44 minutes, its music is wandering on so many paths, rhythms, experiences, styles, it finally feels a lot longer. It is dense, exciting, sometimes joyful, always extremely captivating and some parts are just beautiful – as deep and extraordinary as the term beautiful can mean.
In a nutshell, Celebration will make you wish you were there that night.
Irène Schweizer, Hamid Drake – Celebration – Info
Irène Schweizer: Piano; Hamid Drake: Drums
Free jazz, Free improvisation