|Make no mistake; this session was instigated by Turkish-born, Israeli-based saxophonist Albert Beger. As you may have noticed, just about any player right now is lining up to hire this one particular rhythm section. The rhythm section in question is of course the duo of bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake. For the last two decades, theyve slowly evolved as the to-go-to backbone that will not simply support any leader, but will push boundaries and force the person in charge of the session to play that much harder.
Such is the case on Evolving Silence, Vol. 1, which was recorded exactly two years ago. The leader is fully immersed in delivering lines that are strong, coherent and over-the-top. When he blows, his tenor sounds as if it were on fire. When he twists his lines, they come out sounding even bolder. Melody is never sacrificed in favour of all-out free blowing. Two of the pieces are credited to Beger, while the other two are freely improvised trios. To be fair, the composed pieces sound equally as strong as the improvised ones.
On Naked Truth, Beger is seeking the perfect melodic line, while blowing the hell out of his horn. All around him, the rhythm section sounds loose, while retaining a certain sense of order. Duo # 1 sees Berger switch over to alto flute, while Parker chooses African hunters harp. The result is a combination of softness, warmth and serenity. Duo # 2 sees Beger duel out on tenor with the audacious Drake. The result is intense and just pure fire. The albums final piece, Rain is Coming, sees Drake use a lot of shakers, while Beger shoots off with a bold tenor concoction. Parker plucks the strings of his bass with a lot of melodicism. Beger even allows the rhythm section a lot of breathing space to reach out and play off of each other. An excellent album all around, which makes me very curious to hear the result of their continuing work on the second volume.
Tom Sekowski March 2007