Andrew Cyrille – Lebroba


Now, this is the good shit. This is what you put on when the rest of the world is noise. But, really, how couldn’t this album be anything but perfect? Are you seeing the names on this motherfucker? Andrew Cyrille: the jazz drummer god. He’s never played a beat out of place. And at 78 years old, that’s fucking saying something. He doesn’t have the pageantry of Buddy Rich or the drug-fuelled anger of Keith Moon. He does something that most drummers never do: listen. He’s only gained musical wisdom with age. His soft-spoken and laconic instrumentation makes for an incredibly fucking unique and beautiful style. The dude plays like a seasoned sailor staring out at uncharted sea and says, “Here be dragons.”

Next up, at 76 years old, is the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Somehow, he has the ability to play notes straight from the astral plane. He’ll play out a piercing shriek reminiscent of Miles Davis in Sketches of Spain that also reminds you of a dream you had where you were on walkabout through the Australian desert. I end up smiling like a fucking moron whenever he plays a phrase. I can’t help it. It’s just what happens. It’s no wonder he’s been a finalist for the Pulitzer prize, played alongside more jazz legends than I’ve had hot meals, and is regarded as one of the greatest to have ever picked up the horn.

Then there’s Bill Frisell. Not only is he John Zorn and Paul Motian’s go-to man for guitar, he’s dipped his toes in so many styles that, even if you don’t know his name, I bet you’ve already heard and loved his playing. The way he can blend and fuse chaos into a perfectly timed major chord is nothing short of pure genius. Many guitarists idolize Frisell, and for good fucking reason. He’s perfect. His touch and pluck on the strings could calm an angry crowd. No shit, I’ve watched him calm an entire stadium with a single note. He’s like a sonic Moses. 

Three of the greatest players in the world collaborate together on an album. Is it good? No, it’s beyond that. Is it great? Fuck these paltry adjectives. This album is like cool water for a thirsty soul. The coined term Lebroba is a contraction of each musician’s place of birth into a single word: Leland, Brooklyn and Baltimore. It’s the perfect title. Because this is something that only these particular three, with all their cumulative years of experience and talent, could create. It’s a fucking masterpiece. 

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