Saturday, November 17, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Two Horn Players Named Peter

Peter Brötzmann/Michael Zerang: Live in Beirut. 2005. Al Maslakh Recordings: 03.

Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone, tarogato, B-flat clarinet
Michael Zerang: drum set, darbuka, percussion

As ever the master of sustained intensity, Peter Brötzmann is completely in his element when paired up against the percussive battery of Michael Zerang's fantastic drumming. Zerang's percussion work snaps into sharp focus in "Yalla Kholoud" as he fills out his sound with the darbuka - later transitioning to his full drum kit - before Brötzmann makes a return entrance into the soundscape. There is something intrinsically satisfying about the brute force of playing loud - at least as this duo practices it - that speaks toward a Dyonisian release. Yet this performance also lurches toward more Apollonian moments of lyrical warmth and introspective focus as well.

Peter Apfelbaum & The Hieroglyphics Ensemble: Jodoji Brightness. 1992. Antilles/Polygram Records: 314-512 320-2.

Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone, piano, organ, synthesizer, drums, percussion
Bill Ortiz: trumpet, flugelhorn
Jeff Cressman: trombone, pyramid bell, percussion
James Harvey: trombone
Paul Hanson: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bassoon
Tony Jones: tenor saxophone
Peck Allmond: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet
Norbert Stachel: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, clarinet, flute, piccolo
Will Bernard: guitar
Stan Franks: guitar
Jai Uttal: guitar, harmonium, dotar, percussion
Bo Freeman: bass
Joshua Jones V: drums, timbales, bass drum, congas, bata, vocals
Deszon X. Claiborne: drums, percussion
"Buddha" Robert Huffman: congas, bell tree, gongs, bata, vocals
Rachel Durling: violin
Steven Bernstein: trumpet
Sekou Heath: bata, percussion, vocals

Great big band compositions and arrangements that have aged well (it is now almost 16 years since the recording date) and continues to sound better on its fourth documented spin through the rotation. Even after countless spins and absorbing this music to its core there are countless fresh details in these smart, creative arrangements that keep the ears reaching for this listening experience.

Peter Brötzmann Octet: The Complete Machine Gun Sessions. 1968. Re-mastered and re-issued in 2007 with additional materials. Atavistic: ALP262CD.

Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Even Johansson: drums
Peter Kowald: bass
William Breuker: tenor saxophone
Fred Van Hove: piano
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
Vuschi Niebergall: bass
Han Bennink: drums
Gerd Dudek: tenor saxophone (one track only)

This 1968 European free jazz classic of legendary stature is remastered and restored to its intoxicating and brutal, rough edged beauty. This is a completely necessary expression of pure release and relentless barrage. Peter Brötzmann has built a sound and an improvising career from exploring the extremes found on this disc and the abrasiveness of it has a strong hold on my attention. This is the clear antidote to the inevitable "smooth jazz" overdose the holiday retail experience inflicts upon the alert mind this time of year. Turn this one up and savor it over a few shots of whiskey when the sticky sweetness of eggnog tidings and mindless fa-la-la-la-las becomes overbearing.

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