Date of Release Feb 26, 2002 - Live
John Surman (on baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, and synthesizers) and Jack DeJohnette (playing drums, electronic percussion, and piano) make for a very intriguing duo on these seven originals taken from a pair of live concerts. Other than "Song for World Forgiveness" (a ballad mostly by DeJohnette), the music is primarily freely improvised yet manages to be melodic, diverse, and logical. The performances are atmospheric, with both players utilizing electronics in spots while retaining their own musical personalities. Surman has long been a very flexible and mostly laid-back player, while DeJohnette also has the ability to fit in almost anywhere. Rather than individual melodies or solos, this CD is most notable for its overall feel and the blend between these two unique musicians.
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
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Apart from Jack's ballad "Song for World Forgiveness", which has a loose but pre-arranged harmonic structure and some melodic cues, the rest of the music on the album is more or less totally improvised. Although it's clear enough that Jack plays the drums and piano and I provide the sax and clarinet parts, we thought that some people might want to know a little about 'who's doing what1 as far as the synthesizers are concerned. Jack is using a Roland HPD15 Handsonic electronic drum as part of his kit. In simple terms, this allows Jack to recreate the sound of a wide variety of drum and tuned or untuned percussion sounds. The electric drum can be played both with drum sticks or using the fingers-Jack does both from time to time. I'm using one or two normal synthesizer keyboards which I occasionally activate using a piece of equipment which looks rather like an inter-galactic clarinet, but which simply allows me to play the synth as if it were a wind instrument. The device is called a MIDI wind controller. On "Mysteriurn" Jack creates the bass-line using the electronic drum - the background chord comes from my keyboard. Jack uses the electronic drum to create a pedal-tympani effect in "Outback Spirits", whilst I'm playing my horn through a digital delay unit. "Ganges Groove" finds Jack using his hands and fingers on the electronic drum, as I tootle away on the wind controller. On "Tair Trade", Jack is again using the el-drum with his hands, this time in the role of conga drum, with me adding some background synth chords. We'd both like to thank Ben Surman for his help in bringing out the best In the sounds of the synthesized instruments and for occasionally fading sounds and effects in and out for us when we both had our hands full!