Angelika Niescier/ Tomeka Reid/ Savannah Harris: Beyond Dragons review – immense improv

Seven original tracks of free jazz span fast, jagged pieces and quiet tone poems, with a composer’s ear giving shape, drama and contrast

When the great African American pianist Cecil Taylor spent a month with some of Europe’s most inventive experimenters in Berlin in the summer of 1988, it felt like a free-jazz milestone. The event seemed to symbolise the ways that Taylor’s, John Coltrane’s and Ornette Coleman’s escapes from traditional song-forms in the 1950s had opened up a stunning international soundworld – in which Coltrane could be segued with John Cage, or Anthony Braxton with funk, mingling 20th-century classical ideas, folk music and free-improv, electronics, avant-rock and more.

The Polish-born German alto and soprano saxophonist Angelika Niescier grew up with that transformative swirl around her, and found an illustrious career in it. This Chicago-recorded set with the prodigious cello and drums pairing of Tomeka Reid and Savannah Harris is the latest to swell Niescier’s packed discography, a list that since the millennium has joined trailblazing European and American partners on sharp-end original music, film soundtracks, nods to Coleman, Braxton and other pioneers, and sometimes all-out freefall.

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