Multi-instrumentalist Kali Z. Fasteau is probably among the rare artists on the planet who really deserves to be identified as a “free” musician. Her work does not obey to any rule, except one: soaring through a myriad of tremors and ecstasies, not caring about style, slickness and technicalities. Whatever she chooses to do, Fasteau seems to connect herself with a parallel universe where every sound, even the most bizarre, is significant in itself. The resultant improvisations might occasionally appear a bit messy to those who are not able to make a way into their simple essence: direct communication springing from the sheer act of playing together.
Animal Grace is divided in two halves. The first six chapters were taped in 2007 at Harlem’s Big Apple Jazzspace and are duets with Louis Moholo-Moholo. In a very reverberant setting, the partners trade energies and daydreams in sweaty abstractness, the African drummer responding with skilled empathy to Fasteau’s continuous streams of outlandish sonorities, which she extracts from piano, mizmar, Nai flute, violin, soprano sax and voice – all processed a great deal to add arcane implications to the interplay.
The quartet with Bobby Few (piano), Wayne Dockery (bass) and Steve McCraven (drums) was recorded in 2005 in Switzerland’s La Prese, at the Uncool Festival of Jazz, Improvised Planetary & Cosmo Music (how’s that for a name?). Liberty from genres is established in this circumstance, too. Fasteau summons forth a plethora of transitory fantasies (without pulling punches, if needed: give an ear to the soprano blowout in “From Above”) in tracks that are unlikely to be considered for Downbeat awards. Rich in twists, turns and eccentric timbres, perennially capricious, these instrumental flights of fancy underpin the assumption according to which the only formula to accomplish a “cosmic” bond (for what that means) is the creation of a genuine sonic brotherhood.