Andrew Cyrille – David Rubenstein Atrium – January 17, 2013
The complete name of this group is “Andrew Cyrille’s 21st Century Big Band Unlimited”, which doesn’t fit on a single line here, so we have the triumph of form over substance. This new-to-me venue (part of Lincoln Center) is also relatively new to the world, and one hour early is not early enough for a seat! Most of the music was Cyrille’s compositions, arranged (or perhaps, interpreted) by Mark Masters, who also conducted the combo. All ten horn players got to shine, if not get captured here. Drat! I was without a good pen for signing! While performing, Masters had his back to the audience much of the time, and Cyrille was obscured by Zildjian. Fortunately, after the concert there was a docent-led informal conversation with those two, hence the opportunity for portraiture even if not quite “in action” takes. One of the tunes not by Cyrille was a drum solo version of “Green Corn”, which he said he got from Leadbelly. Visions of “six degrees of separation” swirled in my head, linking Pete Seeger to Cecil Taylor, so I had to ask him about it during the post-discussion. Hopes dashed, he had just gotten it from a record, not from jammin’ with the actual Leadbelly. Still, though, there is that consciousness, no?