The Squid's Ear Magazine

Schmoliner, Ingrid / Hamid Drake: Awon Ona [2 CDs] (Klanggalerie)

An outstanding pair of concerts from Austrian pianist & vocalist Igrid Schmoliner and Chicago drummer & percussionist Hamid Drake, Schmoliner coming from a compositional/avant background, Drake merging jazz and world approaches to his playing, together creating something wonderfully informed and exciting, making their complex interplay radiantly lucid to their audience.

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Ingrid Schmoliner-piano, voice

Hamid Drake-drums, voice

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UPC: 5052571091821

Label: Klanggalerie
Catalog ID: GG376
Squidco Product Code: 30697

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
CD 1 recorded at Alte Gerberei, in St. Johann, Austria, on March 6th, 2020, by Markus Massinger and Charles Wienand.

CD 2 recorded at 25th Jazz Cerkno Festival, in Cerkno, Slovenia, on September 19th, 2020, by Marko Turel.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Hamid Drake is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers. Amongst many others he has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharaoh Sanders, Fred Anderson and Archie Shepp. The

Austrian musician, composer and pedagogue Ingrid Schmoliner performs in various international and interdisciplinary projects. She is founder of the Raum 4 concert series and curates the New Adits Festival for Contemporary Music in Carinthia, Austria. Schmoliner distinctively expands the tonal language of current avant-garde music with her striking piano preparations and the multilayered combinations of her compositional patterns. She is at home equally in minimal music and in improvised jazz. The duo played several festivals together, amongst them Artacts in Tyrol, Austria and Jazz Cerkno in Slovenia. These two concerts were recorded and mastered for this release on double CD. Two masters of their craft generating something unique."-Klanggalerie

"Throughout this album, the listener is taken from one suprise to the next. The music is an unreal mix of structural and compositional cleverness, improvisational inventiveness and stylistic collision and harmony.

You cannot possibly find two more different musicians finding a common voice. Austrian pianist and composer Ingrid Schmoliner comes from a classical avant-garde background, with experience in free improvisation. Chicagoan Hamid Drake is one of the most versatile jazz drummers around, the king of polyrhythms and with an encyclopedic knowledge of rhythmic patterns from around the world.

The combination is extraordinary in both the literal and metaphorical sense of the word. This is not world music, because the genres do not blend into some in-between-state, but keep their strength and character while being in full harmony. Schmoliner and Drake find themselves on various levels: the rhythmic complexities, the shamanistic singing, even if the styles are again totally different, their openness to new forms and the universal language of music, the solemn freshness and the natural organic flow of their sounds.

Schmoliner's style on her prepared piano is all her own: rich, intense, harmonic, with lots of repetitive and rhythmic elements, dramatic at times, cinematic at others, and she has the incredible power to be controlled and full of musical abanon at the same time. Harmonically, her playing remains deeply rooted in the classical idiom, not in jazz. She is also a trained singer, specialised also in overtone singing and yodeling.

The album tracks and the title all come from the Yoruba language from Nigeria, at least from what I could deduct from some internet searches (Keke (wheel), Igbi (wave), Eeru (ash), Afefe (air), San (stream), Ina (fire), Joidi (?), Emi (me), Aago (time), E Dupe (thank you), Gbogbo Ibi (everywhere). The album's title could mean "ways", an apt description of the different roads in music can all lead to the same place.

"Emi" is an amazing 13-minute mesmerising piece built around repetitive phrases and with a steady rhythm, that first flows like rapids, relentlessly, wild and powerful, allowing Drake to show is artistic mastery of adding even more complex rhythms to the endless stream of notes and harmonies that gush from the piano, and even later in the piece, when the speed diminishes, she produces a superfast repetitive playful phrase with her right hand, and Drake is with her, despite the change, despite the sudden shift in mood.

On "Joidi", Schmolinger's singing brings an update from "Kumts" on "Watussi" from 2013, an incantation that demonstrates her vocal skills and spiritual force.

"Aago" is built around sustained deep tones, possibly the result of strings being stroked inside the piano, with Schmoliner singing. Drake emphasises the eery feeling and sense of anticipation. The darkness of the percussion and the single repeated piano note contrast with her bright singing and beautiful melancholy tone.

"E Dupe" starts with some incredibly rich drumming by Drake, inviting Schmoliner in with her own percussive repetitive fireworks, and evolving into Drake's Arabic spiritual chanting, without any of the intensity of the piano or drums losing any of its power.

I will not review all improvisations, but the combination of contrasts and alignment, its bifurcation and convergence is omnipresent, of the modern with the ancient, the particular with the universal, the boundary-breaking with the traditional, all blending into this wonderful co-creation of relatively unique and often spectacular music. The first CD was recorded in "Live At Artacts" festival in Austria on March 6, 2020, the second CD at the Jazz Cerkno Festival in Slovenia on September 19, 2020."-Stef Gijssels, The Free Jazz Collective

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective

Artist Biographies

"Ingrid Schmoliner (* 1978 in Villach) is an Austrian musician (singing, piano) of New Music and Jazz - which also touches improvisation and volkmusik. Life and Work

Before her classical studies at the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium in Klagenfurt, Schmoliner had a piano interest in improvised, experimental and contemporary music. Further, she was trained in classical singing but also in jazz singing. As a gastsolist, she sang at the Graz opera in the opera Buio by Hannes Kerschbaumer. The composer Denovaire wrote the Solostimme for her as an altist in the Muata Erdn choir.

Together with Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass) and Joachim Badenhorst (saxophone), she released the album Watussi. In the Trio Taro (with Matthias Erian and Martin Schönlieb) she recorded the CD flaechten (Ostblock). There is also a composition for piano solo by and with Ingrid Schmoliner on record and two albums of the trio Para with Elena Kakaliagou (horn and voice) and the contrabassist Thomas Stempkowski. She also worked with Xu Fengxia, Clayton Thomas, Marco Eneidi, Daniel Lercher, Susanna Gartmayer and Frantz Loriot.

He is also active as a music teacher. She also teaches in the disciplines of overtone singing and yodeling. She has also devoted herself to "researching pianos and the ideal wood preparations for years."

Schmoliner received the promotion prize for music in Carinthia in 2013."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free-jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 70s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career.

Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups)

He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks; using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake's questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:


1. Keke 13:44

2. Igbi 19:49

3. Eeru 5:23

4. Alefe 20:08

5. San 5:41


1. Ina 7:21

2. Joidi 2:11

3. Emi 13:41

4. Aago 12:56

5. E Dupe 14:03

6. Gbogbo Ibi 10:56

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Instruments with Preparations
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Duo Recordings
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