All sorts of jazz, free jazz and improv. Never for money, always for love.
When asked to review a Brötzmann disc I kinda figured it'd be like
shooting fish in a barrel.
I already had my little book of catch-phrases for the ready: "intense", "testicle-expanding", "blow the roof off", "mind-blowing", etc.
Fact of the matter is, the first question that came to my head was: Who the hell would actually want to buy another Brötzmann CD?! No disrespect to the man, and I consider myself a fan, but certainly long-time artistes of the Braxton/Parker/Taylor/Bailey and, yes, Brötzmann mould do prompt the question in their overwhelming catalogues: should one indeed spend their hard-earned cash on yet more of their output? Isn't the collection bulging enough as it is?
Well, so far as I can tell, you could do worse than blow it on this disc. This one caught me by surprise. It doesn't really sound so much like Brötzmann's usual Euro-style hard-arsed blowout routine as it does like an American release of years past. Seriously. And not only that, it surpasses the usual "European Improvisation/New Music" tag and comes up trumps with an honest-to-Pete jazz sound.
Despite the presence of two other mid-continental types (with names like "Friis" and "Peeter" you know you're probably not dealing with New Yorkers) there's a vibe here that brings to mind a classic ESP (or Eremite, for that matter) loft session rather than an evening at FMP HQ.
Peter Friis Nielson and Peeter Uuskyla, on electric bass (which doesn't sound electric, thankfully) and drums, respectively, both very active in the Euro improv hotbed, provide a solid rhythmic backbeat that neither clutters the proceedings nor gets too lazy or distant; and Brötzmann, much to one's joy, steers clear of the baritone sax (way too overbearing an instrument it be) and sticks to tenor, clarinet and taragato (err... which is...).
Recorded in Sweden in '99, one can only talk of pure sonics when reviewing
such a disc, so it must be done: somewhat comparable to Charles Tyler's
'60/'70s work, Frank Lowe's awesome Black Beings or Evan Parker when he
delves into the modal/minimalist thing, it's a combination that works. Context
often clouds my head to such an extent that I can't even come to a proper
conclusion with music anymore.
This disc achieves the absolute opposite; I don't think of Brötzmann when I listen to it. To state the pathetically obvious: this is a high-class free jazz CD.
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