Exploding Customer: Live at Tampere Jazz Happening / Badland: The Society of the Spectacle

Jeff Stockton By

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Exploding Customer
Live at Tempere Jazz Happening
Ayler Records

There was a reason Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler and others gravitated to Scandinavia to practice their art: Norwegians, Finns and Swedes seem to love our music. Exploding Customer, a piano-less quartet from Sweden which recorded this disc live at a gig in Finland, is reminiscent of the Eric Dolphy/Booker Little partnership at the Five Spot, without being derivative. And when composer and leader Martin Küchen switches from alto to tenor, he and trumpeter Tomas Hallonsten approach the brotherly communication of Albert and Donald Ayler.

This jazz is joyful, brimming with life. "Mr. BP (D) gets things off to a rousing start, like a sabre dance, as if guys were throwing knives across the stage to each other. Küchen's tone is raggedly intense and contrasts nicely with drummer Kjell Nordeson, who swings with the loose rhythm of the late Ed Blackwell. All of the tools come together on the disc's centerpiece "The Crying Whip as the drums come in waves, Hallonsten plays with a Latin flourish and bassist Benjamin Quigley drives the tune behind Küchen. It's a visceral thrill.

The Society of the Spectacle

Badland, a trio comprised of Simon Rose on alto saxophone, Simon H. Fell on double bass and Steve Noble on percussion, has been conceived in a way that Rose lays out in his impressionistic liner notes. Rose offers a dead serious manifesto that defines the band's mission: to subvert tradition; to develop and extend the language of collective improvisation; to examine the limitations of their instruments.

If the musicians happen to touch on some of the qualities a listener may expect from jazz music, so be it. But since "File under: Free Improvisation is printed on the tray card, Badland is going after a niche market. All of this may sound more militant than the music actually is. Badland often tends toward silence, in the style of early Wadada Leo Smith, as in the relatively brief and low-key "Kittiwake and "Elka. However, in the two-part improv that gives the disc its title and in the combustible "MIA, Badland burns.

Tracks and Personnel

Live at Tampere Jazz Happening

Tracks: Mr. BP (D); Child, Child; Quoting Frippe: (What's the Name of the Bass Player?); The Prophet's Ad (Bowing for the Man?); The Crying Whip; Peace Is Not for Us II; Gone Herero; A Broken Glass; Too Much Money.

Personnel: Kjell Nordeson: drums; Benjamin Quigley: bass; Martin Küchen; alto and tenor; Tomas Hallonsten: trumpet.

The Society of the Spectacle

Tracks: Kittiwake; Elka; Society of the Spectacle (Part 2); Nissa; Society of the Spectacle (Part 1); MIA; Snipe; Reeds in the Western World.

Personnel: Simon Rose: alto saxophone; Simon H Fell: double bass; Steve Noble: percussion.


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