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Frigg: Brecht

Glenn Astarita By

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”Frigg” is a Berlin rooted Quintet along with guest artists consisting of British vocalist Phil Minton, New York based guitarist, Elliot Sharp and others as Brecht is an amalgamation of modern jazz, cabaret and jazz/rock which more often than not, contains the atmosphere of an Off-Broadway theatrical production. Brecht combines serious minded compositions with witty and at times frolicsome ensemble work along with narration’s, vocals and hard-core electric guitar work by Bert Wrede.

The composition titled “Sailors Song” features wonderfully realistic narratives/vocals by the somewhat legendary Phil Minton who proceeds to evoke lucid imagery that of a British sailor reminiscing while ashore perhaps in a dank, dusky gin mill on a foggy and chilly evening. Here, clarinetist Jurgen Kupke captures the spirit with swaggering lines atop a rhythm section who sound as though they’re performing with lead weights on their backs, all in good fun I might add......”Liebeslied” is a bit more Germanic in tone and elicits images of cabaret fare during World War II which is offset or counterbalanced by Bert Wrede’s hard-edged, metallic electric guitar lines along with Kupke’s peppery clarinet work and vocals by Meira Asher. The composition, “Anne Smith Relates The Conquest Of America” features vocals/narration from Phil Minton as this piece is vividly melodramatic interspersed with moments of dissonance, abstractness and swing motifs all within the realm of well-organized sequences while the remaining tracks pretty much follow along the same lines.

Fans of the New York Downtown Scene, namely John Zorn and to a lesser extent Frank Zappa or those who have a burning desire to distance themselves from everyday trivialities and yearn for something slightly different may reap some dividends out of this engaging yet somewhat capricious affair. * * * ½


Personnel:

Boris Bell; Drums: Sebastian Hilken; Cello: Horst Nonnenmacher; Bass: Jurgen Kupke; Clarinet: Bert Wrede; Guitar/Composer, with: Phil Minton; Voice: Theo Nabicht; bclarinet/Saxes: Meira Asher; Voice: Michael Grob; Trumpet: Kurt Naumann; Additional Voice: Elliot Sharp; Additional Voice/Lapsteel Guitar/Synths.

Website: www.knittingfactory.com

Title: Brecht | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Knitting Factory


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