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«The Secret Handshake with Danger, Vol. One»

«The Secret Handshake with Danger» brings together four prominent improvisers from the London scene, headed by founding member of legendary AMM, drummer-percussionist Eddie Prévost, and American guitar hero Henry Kaiser. This free-improvising session is one of the few sessions that  Kaiser did in London, all produced by American-Norwegian guitarist Ed Pettersen, and all recorded before the official national lockdown. «Vol. One» was captured at London’s Westpoint London studio in Marc 2020, hours, literally, before the lockdown.

«The Secret Handshake with Danger» features sax player Binker Golding, guitarist N.O. Moore (credited here with guitarism) and double bass player Olie Brice. Moore and Brice recorded recently with Eddie Prévost (Cornelius Cardew – «Treatise and Plumes Of Ash In Moonlight», 2018 and 2019, both released in Pettersen’s label Split Rock Records). Kaiser is influenced by the pioneer generation of British free-improvisers and recorded before a duet album with guitarist Derek Bailey («Wireforks», Shanchie, 1993) and dedicated an album to Bailey after his departure («Domo Arigato Derek-Sensei!», Balance Point Acoustics, 2006). Kaiser also used the title of this album before for a piece in his meeting with drummer Morgan Ågren and bassist-guitarist Trey Gunn («Invisible Rays», 7d Media, 2011)

The two extended «Door» pieces are described as «largely influenced» by Miles Davis’ seminal electro-jazz «On The Corner» (Columbia, 1972). Kaiser is well-versed in this era, and co-led with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith the all-star «Yo Miles!» homage band twenty years ago. Kaiser and the second guitarist Moore lead this meeting and offer a more experimental twist to the funky-fusion role of John McLaughlin and David Creamer who played in the original «On The Corner» sessions. Kaiser injects strong psychedelic-atmospheric veins with his array of effects while Moore contrasts him with various, thorny and distorted sounds. Prévost surprises here with an energetic performance that charges this session with a manic, driving force; Brice is all over the double bass and anchors the fast commotion while Golding’s soulful sax blows keep soaring.

The five musicians move organically throughout this spontaneously improvised session between the American West Coast brand of ecstatic, psychedelic jams to the AMM’s school of more austere and scholastic, sound-oriented soundscapes. All play as if they are possessed by the fast, intense spirit of this meeting, still, navigating these dense, often chaotic and confusing pieces with great confidence and mutual trust.

40 minutes of wild, improvised bliss. A second volume from this session is about to be released soon.

Eyal Hareuveni

Binker Golding (s), Henry Kaiser (ismguitar), N.O. Moore (guitarism), Olie Brice (b), Eddie Prévost (dr, perc) 

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