Mako Sica / Hamid Drake - Ronda 2LPFeeding Tube Records / Astral Spirits
Brilliant, inspired and somewhat surprising collaboration between Chicago's premier free-rock trio and the truly legendary percussionist, Hamid Drake, who has played with everyone from Don Cherry to Peter Brotzmann to Lee Perry.
This collusion was precipitated by Matt Jackowiak, a mutual friend, who thought a merging of their sounds might make for an ecstatic explosion. This feeling became mutual after they played a show together at Constellation. The set mixed Mako Sica tunes with improvisations that took everyone to places they hadn't expected, and the trip was deemed an utter success.
Ronda was done at two sessions, scheduled around Hamid's insanely busy work schedule. The first was at Jamdek with Douglas Malone at the board, the second was at Electrical Audio with Taylor Hales. The Electrical session allowed the players access to a host of additional instruments, so the sonic palette on “Dance with Waves” and “Emanation” is wider and somehow more cosmic than usual.
But the whole album has an extraordinary depth and width of sound. Even the great songs Mako Sica has had in its set for a while like “The Old Book,” gain whole new levels of otherness here, and the material based in quartet improvisations, like “The Wu Wei,” explores wild new territory for the band.
Ronda (named after a town in southern Spain with a famous 18th Century bridge crossing a deep gorge) is the first span connecting the disparate musical worlds of Mako Sica and Hamid Drake. Let us hope it is but the first of many.