Hamid Drake started this concert with a speech, saying how much he enjoyed the Hera concert, about his experience of meeting Don Cherry, about Cherry's vision of life and music. How they are not separate, and how little is needed in both - love and kindness, compassion. A beautiful and simple message
Drake is undoubtedly one of the most gifted drummers around, versatile in all kinds of ethnic traditions, a true master of the rhythm. He played with joy, with creative spirit, openeness that is touching and inspiring. You kind of expect him to amaze you.
The real surprise was Pasquale Mirra - vibraphone player form Italy, whom I never heard before. He would be a perfect foil to Hamid in this partnership. Fantastic melodic touch, fast and mesmerizing arpeggios instead of chords, very original attitutude toward the instrument, lot of variety there - different mallets, drumsticks or just palm and fingers on the keys. But technical prowess is just a medium, the goal is to create music that is free, passionate, gentle and wild. The way the duo would play together (as in really together) was awe-inspiring, listening closely to each other, they would react instantly to any of the new ideas thet kept flowing - why not to flow from Don Cherry, through tango, towards reggae? I tell you - if you want to have the groove (just hi-hat and the snare drum) Hamid is the best I've seen.Propably the most effective moment of the concert was when both players would just stomp their feet, dance rhytmically, Pasquale using his body as the instrument, Hamid with shakers in his hands. Joyfull and touching music. Lot of energy got echanged, in the spirit of Don Cherry, whose melodies would appear throughout the evening, like this one that, fittingly, ended the concert:
Pasquale Mirra - vibraphone
Hamid Drake - drums, frame drum, percussion, vocal
Radio Lublin Studio; Lublin; 15.04
To end the evening Hera and Hamid Drake as a quintet would start the jam session in the festival club. It was something unbelievable. Behind the double push of the two drum sets (and Ksawery on the bass) the quintet would just take us for a beatiful ride, 50 (yes! fifty!) minutes of incessant drive, wild and relentless. With fantastic soloing by all of the players (Pawel Postaremczak hit the roof with his one). Some of the most energizing playing (and clearly the players did enjoy themselves) I've witnessed live. Free-jazz at its best.
Czarna Owca (Black Sheep) Club; Lublin; 15/16.04
Hera & Hamid Drake