Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet in Amsterdam, February 13
From a dual percussion onslaught, the second piece morphed into a knockout duet between Johannes Bauer and Lonberg-Holm, with the trombonist vocalizing into his horn, sounding like electronic sampling, before unveiling a compendium of extended techniques with slobbers, barks, growls and susurrations, forcing Lonberg-Holm to respond in kind with all manner of plucks and abrasions. After a fine outing with a plunger mute by Bishop, and some sanctified tenor from McPhee, the horns coalesced for a chorus of ragged Americana, over which Brotzmann wailed on tarogato. Out spewed a beautiful song of regret, experience and compassion for a wonderful ending. Is this the man sometimes characterized as a one dimensional energy player? How wrong can you be!
One section in the final piece cast light on some of the bands working methods: Midway through, Vandermark settled on a motif, contrasted with spluttered asides. As he insistently repeated the phrase, the other horns began, one by one, to squeal and squawk over a powerhouse rhythm in response, until they had conjured a stomach- churning furore. Instant composition in action. Brotzmann's clarinet spun out over the top as everyone quietened for a graceful conclusion, followed by an upwelling of tumultuous applause. Eleven years and still going strong.
Photographed musicians:1) l:r Ken Vandermark, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Johannes Bauer, Michael Zerang, Conrad Bauer; 2) Joe McPhee and Peter Brotzmann; 3) Kent Kessler and Jeb Bishop