Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Smalltown Superjazzz
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental, Jazz, Electronica, Avant-Garde, Avant-Garde Jazz, Structured Improvisation, Modal Music
He's more front and center on "People Be Happy," when he uses his tenor to simultaneously impersonate a didgeridoo drone and an Albert Ayler gospel wail. Reid's tom-toms rumble underneath and this time it's Hebden coming in from the shadows, highlighting both his partners with breathtaking screes, skronks, and outer space pulses. But rather than go farther out into the ether, the tune moves in with Gustafsson copping a two note mantra-like vamp and holding it as the other two players shimmer and shift around it to a whisper.
At the start of "The Sun Never Sets", the last song of the six-piece set Live at the South Bank, drummer Steve Reid sounds tired. He lags slightly behind the flickering electronic phrases of collaborator Kieren Hebden, better known as Four Tet, like he's forgotten the clip of the tune that opened their 2007 album, Tongues. It would be hard to blame Reid, after all; at this point, just 10 months before he died of throat cancer last year, the 65-year-old was an hour deep into a June 2009 performance with Reid and fierce Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Drummer Steve Reid – who played with artists as varied as Martha and the Vandellas, James Brown, Dexter Gordon, Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman – died last year, but this live album from Ornette Coleman's 2009 Meltdown festival finds him with regular partner Keiran Hebden on electronics, samples and beats, and Swedish musician Mats Gustafsson on flame-throwing free-jazz sax. Whirling electronics preface anthemic low-pitched loops, spacey twitterings and helicopter-rotor noises over Reid's restless, rumbling drumming on the 17-minute Morning Prayer – an overture so hypnotic for Gustafsson that he didn't play a sound until his wails and howls began to show up well after the start of the following track, Lyman Place. The saxophonist is impassioned yet slow-burning on the pounding People Be Happy.
A welcome addition to what eventually became Reid’s late-period re-emergence. Martin Longley 2011 It’s unclear whether this live recording was always destined for a release, or whether it’s been issued as a previously unplanned posthumous tribute to the recently departed New York drummer Steve Reid. Whichever way, this two-CD set is now a welcome addition to what eventually became Reid’s late-period re-emergence following decades of hip multi-genre collaborations amid a veil of semi-obscurity.The five-year teaming of Reid and Kieren (Four Tet) Hebden culminated with this 2009 performance in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
Superficially, the pairing of Kieran Hebden and the late Steve Reid was an unlikely one. Reid had been drumming for almost twenty years before Hebden was even born, with everyone from Martha and the Vandellas to Sun Ra Arkestra. Hebden was the ex-post rocker who'd broken free of the usual accusations of electronica being 'cold' and 'soulless' via free-ranging, imaginative music, built from a palette including field recordings, live percussion and musique concrete.