I'd be lying if I didn’t say that I was highly disappointed with Posium Pendasem. Look at the five players’ accomplishments as well as their history of playing together and you are right to expect the best. Instead, what you get is a less than stellar performance.
The disc opens up well enough with the less than two minute long piece "Posium Pendasem #9" which features the beautiful piano work of Cooper-Moore. The pianist displays lyricism that is quite beautiful but still a bit in left field. It would have been nice if this track could have gone on longer although forcing a composition to go for too long is rarely a good thing.
"Posium Pendasem #7" is the second track and clearly the mantle piece of the disc as it lasts for over 50 minutes and makes up about 75% of the disc’s material. Saxophonists Rob Brown and Assif Tsahar are at the forefront early but not very successfully. The two attempt to play together but just end up clashing. I might be missing something here but their interaction seems to lack the style and intelligence that can make even the most dissonant music rewarding. Fortunately this exchange dies out before 20 minutes have past and things improve when William Parker, Cooper-Moore, and Susie Ibarra take a more prominent role. All show their great abilities yet break little new ground and are thus only partially able to remove the bad taste that the earlier playing put in my ears.
The disc closes with the ballad "Another Angel Goes Home." This is undoubtedly the highlight as it has the rare quality of being both soothing and edgy. Ibarra is particularly impressive here as she once again shows the ability to integrate seemingly countless influences in a free style that does not totally lose sight of the pulse. But again, this track probably doesn't deserve countless hours of study.
This quintet recorded these tracks in concert on April 9 and 11, 1998 in Berlin, Germany. The disappointing music is probably the product of no more than an off performance. Unfortunately it is unclear whether we will get to hear much more from this particular ensemble. Ibarra and Tsahar, a married couple, have had a falling out with Parker over issues that have not become clear to the public. It appears that, at least for the time being, that Parker will not be collaborating with either Ibarra or Tsahar. Considering the great music that Ibarra and Parker have helped create both in Parker’s groups and in units lead by Matthew Shipp and David S. Ware. Hopefully, they will be able to reconcile their differences as Posium Pendasem would be an unrepresentative final statement from the two.