Sunday, January 23, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: The Illusion of Progress

Chicago Tentet: American Landscapes 1. 2007. Okka Disk: OD12067.

Peter Brötzmann: clarinet, tarogato, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Mats Gustafsson: baritone saxophone, slide saxophone
Ken Vandermark: clarinet, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone
Joe McPhee: trumpet, alto saxophone
Hannes Bauer: trombone
Per-Ake Holmlander: tuba
Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello
Kent Kessler: bass
Paal Nilssen-Love: drums
Michael Zerang: drums

It is an interesting experience to return to this disc after unexpectedly becoming immersed in the Chicago scene in the interim since last studying this recording. The individual personalities are clearer after having experienced so many of them play live over the past few months. This ensemble is a marvelous vehicle and medium for channeling Peter Brötzmann's ideas and approach toward improvisation. The shifting combinations of instruments produces some startling results over this long form improvisation. And there is a beautiful symmetry to this performance as the first ten minutes features a steady build up toward a thick texture and the final ten minutes drops back before building up toward a monstrous energy leading into a brief coda of tranquility. There is a softness to Brötzmann's music that is startling given his well documented ability to play with raw aggression.

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

Peter Brötzmann has recorded several outstanding sax and drum duo sessions over the decades. Even within his stellar output on that front this disc is a standout. Michael Zerang dives right into the energy of the moment and brings something amazing to the creativity of this listening experience. The long drum solo early in "Yalla Kholoud" leading toward Brötzmann's tarogato work is particularly thrilling. Particularly as they lock in so quickly. The ragged, confident-yet-aggressive quality of the dialogue between these musicians makes this disc a thrill ride right from the start.

Peter Apfelbaum & The Hieroglyphics Ensemble: Jodoji Brightness. 1992. 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

A couple of things that struck me when revisiting this old friend of a recording; it has aged remarkably well and it's surprising how every sound and nuance is so deeply ingrained in my memory. I swear there's a "picture perfect" replica of it residing in my brain. This is music that takes up the sweep of "world music" without treating any of it as exotic. It is all music, and it is all jazz. The writing and playing on here is fantastic. This is one durable recording.

1 comment:

CraigM said...

Ah - Jodoji Brightness! Back in the day, I played the heck out of "The Hand That Signed the Paper." I think your description of its relationship to world music is spot on. Too bad Apfelbaum couldn't keep this band running for years and years.