Herb Robertson & Phil Haynes: Ritual
Shortly into ‘Part 2’ Robertson drops out and Haynes is left to tinker rigorously with his kit creating a solo statement that makes the descriptor ‘unconventional’ seem terribly inadequate. Stirring around various objects on the skin surfaces of his drums the effect is as disconcerting as it is fascinating. Robertson’s ferrous timbral streaks on “Part 3” create another interlude of fierce experimentation threatening with their volume to overwhelm the recording mics. Toward the segment’s center he utters a barrage of gulping breath sounds followed by moist gurgling mutters that seem to make light of the amount of energy he is expending. “Part 4” returns the mood to an elegaic one with Robertson exploring a dour theme above the quiet cymbals of his partner.
Free improvisation in this kind of stripped down environment can instantly become a sink or swim proposition. In like fashion there are moments where Ritual seems to take on water, but the duo tempers these moments with many more that can leave the listener scratching his or her chin in admiration. Those listeners whose ears are easily aggravated by non-linear, abstract extemporization are likely to find this disc a chore and nusiance. Inquisitive listeners will find their patience proving a virtue however, particularly in dealing with the performance’s early stages. Much of the time Robertson and Haynes sound as if they’re playing more for themselves than for any audience, but while the introspective nature of much of their exchange can be off-putting, there’s still a great deal here that warrants concentrated listening.
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Track Listing: Ritual, Parts 1-4.
Personnel: Herb Robertson- trumpet; Phil Haynes- drums, percussion.
Record Label: CIMP Records
Style: Modern Jazz