John Butcher / Gerry Hemingway: Buffalo Pearl (2008)
Both players are involved in projects too numerous to list, but what is significant is they are both well-known solo players. Perhaps Butcher, a former physicist, is best-known for his solitary work, extending the saxophone's sound through the invention of new techniques and electronics.
Buffalo Pearl was taken from a live 2005 performance in Buffalo, New York, and while the respectful crowd is never heard, the players project a radiant energy that maintains itself throughout.
Of the disc's five pieces, only "Head Nickel" goes for the obvious tenor versus drums blastoff. This power workout bridges the more subtle touches that the two masters bring to their live show. An evening hearing Brotzmann blowing waves of energy is always a treat, but within the context of listening to a recording, this is the superior experience.
The combination if Butcher's extended saxophone techniques and Hemingway's tactile expressionbe it on drums, adding a bit of sampling, voice, or brusheskeeps things stimulating throughout. As Butcher flutters through "The Good Neighbor," Hemingway drives the drums at a breakneck pace and with an electronic pop and sizzle boiling. The pair relies on the faithful technique of tension and release, and noise and silence; all with an overarching transparency of purpose and clarity of sound.
Track Listing: Light Queen; Head Nickel; McGeist; No Illusion; The Good Neighbor.
Personnel: John Butcher: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Gerry Hemingway: drums, percussion, voice, sampler.
Record Label: Auricle Music
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde