I always liked but never quite understood Neil Young's lyric that went something like this: "...are you ready for the country, 'cause it is time to go..." To call someone "country" is to say they are simple or at the very least not urbane. But I think Neil Young was speaking more of organics and getting back to authenticity, and genuineness. If my theory is correct, this disc by four members of Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet is indeed a country album.
All four of these musicians have been working together in the Tentet, a gigantic composed/free undertaking that comes at you like a summer blockbuster movie. Where the Tentet is all about sculpted surges of power, this quartet sets about to make a free/ballad record with more modest ambitions.
In their modesty of approach, the quartet has made something quite synergistically large. Brötzmann and Joe McPhee are both known for their powerful display and energy, and both occasionaly get entangled in its trappings. Here they both acknowledge the dynamic but choose a less weighty interaction.
Chicago players Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang play a fine supporting role here. Kessler is adept at the heavy bottom plucking and the meditative bow. Zerang, for his part, contributes "Cymbalism" and some thoughtful hand-drumming on "Did You Still Love Me/Did I Ever?".
Highlights of this disc are a traditional piece, "Blessed Assurance," with all its nods towards Brötzmann's place as heir to Albert and Don Ayler's band; "From Now Till Doomsday," as an extended free meditation; and "In Anticipation Of The Next," McPhee's dedication to departed bassists Wilber Morris and Peter Kowald.
Quite patient in its approach, the quartet renders an amazing recording of music that announces this trip to the country.
Track Listing: Stone Poem No. 1; Something There Is That Doesn't Love; Master Of A Small
House; Cymbalism; Alto Lightning
In A Violin House; From Now Till Doomsday; Did You Still Love Me/Did I
Ever?; Blessed Assurance; Pieces Of
Red, Green And Blue; Stone Poem No. 2.
Personnel: Peter Brötzmann - Alto Saxophone, Tenot Saxophone; Joe McPhee - Tenor
Saxophone, Pocket Cornet,
Trumpet; Kent Kessler - Double Bass; Michael Zerang - Drums, Percussion.