Assif Tsahar & Hamid Drake - Soul Bodies, vol.2

Kurt Gottschalk, AllAboutJazz

The mark of a great jazz drummer is prowess in duos. Keeping and pushing rhythm is no longer enough - in duets, the drummer must find melody or stand in the mud. Besides a long-standing partnership with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang, Hamid Drake has recorded duets with saxophonists Joe McPhee, Sabir Mateen, Peter Brötzmann, Arthur Doyle and Mats Gustafsson, as well as pianist Borah Bergman, trombonist Jeb Bishop and bassist William Parker. But next to a longtime association with his childhood neighbor, Fred Anderson, the pairing with reedman Assif Tsahar is one of his most recurring meetings.
The first volume of Drake and Tsahar's "Soul Bodies" project was recorded at the 2001 Vision Festival and the new installment comes from a tour of Sweden the following year. Volume 2 continues in the firebrand tradition of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali's sax/drum duets: rolls of thunder and screaming horn broken by moments of suggested themes, especially in Drake's composition "Mother and Father" and the brief encore of Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas". Tsahar is more than adept at the extreme registers of the tenor and Drake well capable of meeting Tsahar's energy, making for an exciting hour.