1/  Whatever I Want                            (Hanrahan)                    5.43
  2/  At the Moment of the Serve                 (Hanrahan)                    5.39
  3/  This Night Comes Out of Both of Us         (Hanrahan)                    5.40
  4/  India Song                                 (Duras,d'Alessio)             4.13
  5/  A Lover Divides Time                       (Hanrahan)                    3.17
      (To Hear How It Sounds)
  6/  No One Gets To Transcend Anything          (Hanrahan)                    3.42
      (No One Except Oil Company Executives)
  7/  Shadow To Shadow                           (Hanrahan)                    7.06
  8/  Sketch From Two Cubas                      (Hanrahan)                    4.07
  9/  Heart On My Sleeve                         (Macero)                      5.14

          Recorded at Latin Sound Studios, New York, New York, November 1980-
            July 1981
          Track 8 recorded at Grog Kill Studio, Willow, New York, July 1979 and
            January 1980
          Engineers at Latin Sound Studios: Jon Fausty and David Rodriguez
          Engineers at Grog Kill Studio: Michael Mantler and Tom Mark
          Track 6 engineered by Kevin Zambrana
          Edited, overdubbed and mixed by Jon Fausty, David Rodriguez and
            Emilsam Velazquez
          Produced by Kip Hanrahan
          Executive Producer: Scott Marcus
          Mastered at RCA, New York by Jack Adelman
Kip Hanrahan (1,2,3,6,8): voice, percussion, string synthesizer; Daniel Ponce (1,2,3,5,7): iya, congas, chekere; Jerry Gonzalez (1,2,3,5,6,7,8): congas, itotole, quinto, chekere; Nicky Marrero (1,3): congas, okonkolo; Anton Fier (1,2,3,5,6,7,8): trap drums; Chico Freeman (1,2,4,9): tenor sax, clarinet; Bill Laswell (1,3,4,7): electric bass; Arto Lindsay (1,2,3,5,6,7,8): electric guitar; Byard Lancaster (1,3): tenor sax, flute, wooden flute; George Cartwright (1,3,4): alto sax, flute, piccolo; Ignacio Berroa (2,5,6): trap drums; Jamaaladeen Tacuma (2,5,6): electric bass; George Naha (2,3): electric guitar; Carlos Ward (2,4,7,9): alto sax; Lisa Herman (3,5): voice; Carla Bley (4): piano, voice; Orlando DiGirolamo (4,9): accordion; Billy Bang (4): violin; John Clark (4): french horn; Angel Perez (6: congas; Gene Golden (6,8): chekere; John Stobblefield (6): tenor sax; Bern Nix (6): electric guitar; Fred Frith (7): electric guitar; Carlos Mestere (8): congas; Michael Mantler (8): trumpet; Cecil McBee (9): bass; Teo Macero (9): tenor sax; David Liebman (9): soprano sax; Victor Lewis (9): trap drums.

          1981 - American Clave (USA), AMCL 1007 (Vinyl)
          2008 - Yellowbird (Germany), yeb-7701-2 (CD)


Fittingly enough, the first sound heard on Kip Hanrahan's premier release is that of the conga and the first word sung is "sex," two leitmotifs that would appear consistently in his ensuing work. Coup de Tete burst on the scene in the early '80s as an entirely fresh, invigorating amalgam of Cuban percussion (much of it Santeria-based), free jazz, funk, and intimate, confrontational lyrics. Hanrahan had worked at New Music Distribution Service, a project run by Carla Bley and Michael Mantler (both of whom appear on this album), and had established contacts with numerous musicians from varied fields who he threw together in a glorious New York City melting pot. With the percussion and electric bass laying down thick and delicious grooves, the cream of the younger avant saxophonists in New York at the time wail over the top, accompanying some of the most brutally uncomfortable lyrics ever put to wax. The relationships Hanrahan details are turbulent to say the least, often intertwined with economic concerns as well as a general sense of the impossibility of understanding one's mate. After asking him for abuse and being refused, his lover (sung wonderfully by Lisa Herman) taunts, "When you could only sulk/I had more contempt for you than I ever thought I could have." Interspersed among the bitter love harangues and ecstatic percussion-driven numbers are two stunningly lovely pieces, Marguerite Duras' "India Song" and Teo Macero's "Heart on My Sleeve," both aching with romanticism. Coup de Tete is a superb record, an impressive debut, and, arguably, one of the finest moments in Hanrahan's career along with the following release, Desire Develops an Edge. Highly recommended.

4 1/2 stars out of 5

Brian Olewnick (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)