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Andrew Cyrille, Elliott Sharp, Richard Teitelbaum - Evocation (Infrequent Seams)

26 September 2022

Recorded in 2011 at Roulette’s as part of Thomas Bruckner’s Interpretations series of events, Evocation features a trio of master improvisers embodying the essence of spontaneous composition. Drummer Andrew Cyrille, guitarist etc. Elliott Sharp and pianist/electronics guru Richard Teitelbaum all had long associations with each other, particularly Cyrille and Teitelbaum, and thus took the stage in complete comfort in each other’s abilities to communicate – even if they had no preconceived notions as to what they would say once there. Given the reputation of these guys, particularly Sharp, you might expect chaotic noise, and while that’s not inaccurate, anyone expecting a blizzard of sound may be disappointed. Sharp peels off mournful lines and textures more than savage riffs or off-the-wall solos, and while Cyrille circles the beat like a hungry tiger, he never goes in for a violent pounce. Plus both mavericks feed their work into Teitelbaum’s samplers, allowing them and the electronicist’s library of found sounds to become particles in a wave of digitally manipulated sonics. Teitelbaum is clearly the star here, taking the sounds all around him and molding them to the whims of the moment. Released in tribute to Teitelbaum, who died in 2020 at the age of 80 due to a stroke, Evocation definitely isn’t easy listening, but if you allow yourself to let go of any preconceived notion of the sounds these three man can make, it casts a spell that’s uneasy to shake.