It's important to point out that this is Peter Brötzmann entirely solo on various reeds because, with this particular advocate of the free, the solo context has always amounted to something entirely different to his group work. As an unaccompanied soloist, he has always been an antithesis of Evan Parker
's seamless flow on soprano sax in particular, as if Brötzmann's accommodation within the moment is of a radically different order.
That's best highlighted here by ..."Got A Hole In It," performed on tenor sax, not least because this one also highlights how Brötzmann has tempered his use of vibrato, as if passing time has prompted inevitable reflection. His breathiness conjures up past visions of (of all people) Ben Webster
coming into the audio pictureif Webster had ever tackled the Thelonious Monk
songbook, that is.
If it hasn't been said before that Brötzmann's approach to the clarinet is as unique as that of anyone on this planet then it can be said here. On the title track, his tone is singular enough to suggest another instrument altogether, whilst his lyricism, something which again is often not apparent in his group work, also comes to the fore. In its more animated moments, however, the music is almost a soundtrack for any free radicals there might still be out there. It's proof, too, of how important the clarinet's range is to his instrumental conception. Within this piece alone he assumes a trio of voices because of it, all of them having a magnetic identity in common.
Brötzmann has only added the alto sax to his inventory in recent times, but it's clear on "Internal Rotation" that, in doing so, he's taken to the horn like a man for whom individual expression transcends the instrument. There's the same light and shade to be heard here as there is elsewhere, but here the animated passages conjure up only the man's own past, as if the fire hasn't so much dimmed as merely changed the color of its flames. The blast is, however, just as invigorating as it's always been and, because of this, Brötzmann can now indeed be seen as the old-fashioned modernist referred to in the accompanying booklet notes. In times like these there are far worse things to be.
Personnel: Peter Brotzmann: alto sax, tenor sax, b-flat clarinet, tarogato.