Peter Brötzmann has that unique gift of getting together musicians who are compatriots in his mission to forge unusual permutations and sounds and continuously revitalise free music. His is an ongoing adventure that gets him to explore unusual avenues and, even where it seems that the path has been trodden in the past, he leaves behind a singular impress.
This 1984 recording marks another creative notch. The lineup has some of the best free thinkers and instant improvisers who go without hesitation into the realm of the unknown. All draw the listener into a vortex that spins, at first like a snake charmer casting a hypnotic spell that gradually builds depth and a trenchant power. The eddying whirls of turbulence are at the outset built on a gradual scale with the horns squiggling and screaming. William Parker lets his arco bed that passion with straight lines which must have sent a message to Brötzmann, who plays melody on the tenor saxophone, but that is all to the good just briefly, for turbulence soon rents that idea asunder. The wail and the yowl are the underpinnings driven by the restless surge of Parker and the attacking accents of Tony Oxley on the drums.
The second track goes in another direction, a paean of shimmering beauty, at times orchestrated with lissom strokes. Even when that innate prod of free ministration captures the wave, the buoyancy that Parker brings in on the bass gives the proceedings a pleasing pliability.
Ideas are constantly changed and forged on Berlin Djungle. Just as expectation has been met through roiling churn and the band ferments, in comes a trajectory into another domain. Calm descends, but these players don't let that inhibit them, leaping out and bounding into coruscating ideas, the horns battling with each other, wrapping themselves into an embrace and then enunciating individual ideas, all seemingly different parts of a puzzle. But it all falls into place and the tranquil and the tempest turn out to be perfect bed mates.
Personnel: Toshinori Kondo: trumpet; Johannes Bauer: trombone; Alan Tomlinson: trombone; Peter
Brötzmann: clarinet, tenor sax, tarogato; Tony Coe: clarinet; J. D. Parran: clarinet; E. L.
Petrowsky: clarinet; Louis Sclavis: clarinet, bass clarinet; John Zorn: clarinet, mouth pieces;
William Parker: bass; Tony Oxley: drums.