One of the irrefutable greats in the modern and avant-garde jazz idioms, Brooklyn, N.Y. reared drummer Andrew Cyrille delves into his Haitian lineage on this harmonious quintet date for the Finnish, TUM Records label. In effect, the drummer effortlessly aligns jazz music with the Spanish, French and Latin influenced Haitian stylizations, spanning ceremonial, carnival and indigenous folk components. And as the world music revolution has intertwined countless genres, the music of Haiti often seems neglected within the consortium of jazz-fusion endeavors, largely concentrated in African, Asian, Middle Eastern or Latin foundations.
“Route De Frere’s is a three-part suite, depicting an investigation the rhythmic island’s rhythmic domains, where swing, Latin, and Spanish pulses supply the groundwork via the percussion-centric framework. Cyrille and Haitian percussionist Frisner Augustin, a resident of New York City since 1972, enact a buoyant bottom-end, spawning extended solos and a distinct sense of revelry throughout. Richly melodic, this piece features numerous improvisational segments amid all-world baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett’s blustery and sonorous theme-building exercises. And on “Part 3,” Haitian born guitarist, also calling New York City home, Alix Pascal renders an animated and delicately surging guitar solo, complete with jazzy phrasings and richly melodic breaks.
The totality of the program casts an optimistic imprint. The musicians’ insinuate a message of hope and good will, offering an artistically poignant, but at times hard-hitting musical prayer for a country that dwells in poverty amid its relentless societal injustices. – Glenn Astarita
Andrew Cyrille: drums; Hamiet Bluiett: baritone saxophone; Lisle Atkinson: bass; Alix Pascal: acoustic guitar; Frisner Augustin: percussion, vocals.