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Friday, November 18

LIVE AT THE SOUTH BANK receives 8.0 on Pitchfork

Just 10 months previous to his untimely passing, drummer extraordinare, Steve Reid, along with Kieren Hebden (aka Four Tet), and saxophonist Mats Gutsafsson, recorded Live At The South Bank. Reid was 65 years old. Smalltown Superjazzz released this document on 2xCD and 2xLP and Pitchfork took notice - with an 8.0 review ~

"Reid's story has never really been a tale of quitting. A teenager drummer in New York, he famously gigged with James Brown and the Vandellas before serving a two-year prison sentence for his Vietnam evasion. He returned to the kit upon release, eventually forming his own group (with at least one really great album to their name) and working with legends spread across several different forms -- R&B legend Dionne Warwick, astral jazz traveler Sun Ra and African icon, and iconoclast Fela Kuti. In 1986, he even added a touch of percussion to Miles Davis' Tutu. But for a player who was drumming with the stars by the time he was 16, much of the success and steady work that might've seemed logical for Reid mostly proved elusive. Through the 1990s and into the first half of the last decade, his output could be described, at best, as a trickle. But that all changed when, as legend has it, Hebden watched Gustafsson perform at the Oslo Jazz Festival in 2004. He decided he needed a drummer and, more importantly, a collaborative partner. After Hebden, Reid's trickle became something of a deluge."

"On South Bank -- the most vital and essential document of Reid and Hebden's five-year partnership -- it feels clear that, at least onstage, they were finally able to go the distance. The invocation 'Morning Prayer' opens slowly, circling in space with a meditative calm. For 17 minutes, the pair traces lines around the other's rhythm, Hebden's electronics and keys shaping a cradle for Reid's busy tom-and-cymbal patter, and vice versa...."

"...he's forcing the rest of the squad to twist one of the most memorable melodies of his work with Hebden into unrecognizable patterns. He jumps from cymbals to kick drum, from toms to cymbals. Gustafsson broods, and Hebden wraps the theme in a fuselage of noise. They distend what seems like the end, stretching the coda into a slow exhalation. But as everyone else starts to fade, Reid remains, pounding his drums a little harder than you might expect after these nearly 90 bustling minutes, like he wants to keep going."

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