212

Jonathan Bratoeff Quartet: Between Lines

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Jonathan Bratoeff Quartet: Between Lines
While it's most talked about right now for the thrilling fast-forward postmodernism of Pete Wareham's Acoustic Ladyland and Sebastian Rochford's Polar Bear, this album from French-born guitarist Jonathan Bratoeff is a reminder that London's F-IRE collective is neither monochrome nor monolith, but a multicoloured assembly of individuals and aesthetics. The twenty or so musicians at the collective's core are indeed all card-carrying apostles of experiment, adventure, and, to varying degrees, inclusion, but there are evolutionists as well as revolutionists amongst them, each taking his or her own path towards a new jazz nirvana.

In this context Bratoeff is an evolutionist, with one foot in the future and the other in the tradition. His clean-picked, mostly FX-free, rapid-fire runs carry echoes of Johnny Smith and Jimmy Raney, while his taste for abstraction and astringency is reminiscent of Lee Konitz and Lennie Tristano—and a fellow F-IRE artist, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock. Between Lines is unadorned, uncompromising, mostly through- improvised music, and like Laubrock's river deep recent album Forensic is by turns, and sometimes simultaneously, warm and edgy, sunlit and dark cornered, passionate and cerebral.

Wareham and Rochford drop effortlessly into Bratoeff's groove, their cranked-up rude boy iconoclasm tempered by measured, slow burning performances (although Rochford's two-minute solo introduction to "Conscience" is a reminder of his trademark ferocity-with-brains approach). On the bossa nova-ish "Far Away" things even get mellow, with Wareham suggesting Getz's carefree on-the-road-to-Rio excursions. But most of the tunes inhabit a more emotionally charged place, like "NY," evoking Manhattan's adrenaline-fuelled atmosphere, or "Lignes," a kind of 21st Century distillation of "A Love Supreme."

After studying at the Aula de Jazz de Barcelona, Bratoeff moved to London in 1998. His first album, '01's Episode, also featured Wareham, along with the lower-profile but astonishing F-IRE cellist Ben Davis, and this quartet came together after Bratoeff, Wareham, and Rochford studied together at New York's School for Improvisational Music in '02. Bratoeff also leads a quintet featuring Ingrid Laubrock on tenor saxophone and Tom Arthurs on trumpet, another all-stars-of-the-future lineup (it's a certainty).

But hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, if it's the eternal verities of in-the-moment improv and interaction you're after, you need look no further.

Track Listing

Mr Palette; Far Away; Equilibre; Mood Change; NY; Lignes; Conscience (Part 123); Little Stream.

Personnel

Jonathan Bratoeff, guitar; Pete Wareham, tenor saxophone; Tom Mason, bass; Sebastian Rochford, drums.

Album information

Title: Between Lines | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: F-IRE Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read West Meets East
West Meets East
Adam Shulman Septet
Read Fela's First
Fela's First
Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers
Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.