Album Review

Ligeti, Lukas – “Pattern Time” – [Innova/American Composers]

Max Level   7/25/2011   CD, Jazz

Ligeti is a marvelous, freewheeling drummer leading what appears to be a jazz band featuring piano, sax, and electric bass… but they throw us a curveball with a guy on balafon, the African equivalent of a xylophone or marimba, playing busy lines and generally messing with the rhythms and tonalities. What they’re going for here is a jazz thing, seemingly influenced as much by pattern-based composition (Steve Reich?) as it is by actual jazz. Check out the way the polyrhythmic patterns merge and diverge and then merge again; sometimes everyone seems to be playing on a different beat, but they pull it off. The playing is top notch, especially Ligeti’s drumming. An occasional prepared piano increases the unusualness factor. A 1999 session, released here for the first time I believe.

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