Paris Transatlantic review by Michael Rosenstein

The Convergence Quartet – SONG/DANCE (CF 187)
Perhaps the band-name refers to the convergence of two North American improvisers – cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and drummer Harris Eisenstadt – and two from the UK: pianist Alexander Hawkins and bassist Dominic Lash. Or perhaps it refers to their distinctive synthesis between composition and improvisation, arrangement and spontaneity. In any case, this fine CD is their second release, recorded in the studio during the course of a short UK tour in spring 2009. The nine tunes include originals by each member along with Leroy Jenkins’ “Albert Ayler (His Life Was Too Short)” and “Kudala,” a traditional South African song. Here’s a band that truly understands how to ride the edge of inside/outside, at times dulcetly melodic, at other times quite prickly; they’re always doing something unexpected, weaving their way through collective counterpoint, lyrical solos, and bracing free interludes, as well. Early Ellington is a strong influence, and you can hear that the bandmembers have learned much from ongoing work with musicians like Braxton, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, and Joe McPhee, but they all have forged distinctive voices on their instruments. Let’s hope this long-distance Trans-Atlantic relationship continues, as this is a group that deserves to be more than an occasional project.

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