First Contempo Festival Events in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmuller participated in the Contempo events in a joint concert of contemporary acoustic ensembles, the Israeli Nikel and the Berlin- based Mosaik ensembles, where they premiered a new composition by Wertmuller. Their set in Jerusalem, now as part of Peter Brotzmann's Full Blast trio, was something completely different. This trio still performs a high-octane version of free jazz, but as their new release, Black Hole (Atavistic, 2009) attests, their approach and delivery is much more sophisticated and collaborative now than it was in their first concert in Israel a year ago or on their debut release (Jazzwerkstatt, 2007). Not that Brotzmann's playing is less powerful and commanding than it was before before, or that the trio has lost its take-no-prisoners approach, but there is more now than sheer power and aggressiveness.
It was clear after a slow introduction that Brotzmann was angry about the too-colorful lighting in the Yellow Submarine club: "We are no fucking Rolling Stones," he roared, and as soon as the lights came down to a more natural mode, he began a long, emotional, bluesy solo, sometimes producing a ragged, low, vibrating sound from his alto sax, almost as if he were quoting Ben Webster. Pliakas was busy with producing a whole array of dense and fast chords from his electric bass, often taking the lead with complex riffs that were enhanced by his use of electronics, while Wertmuller pushed the trio with his relentless energy. Such intense support enabled Brotzmann to focus his solos on expressive and much more explicit feelingsanger, pain, sorrow, and a lot of compassion, with an uncompromising conviction that couldn't help but grab the listener's complete attention.