333

Herb Robertson: Real Aberration & The Perfume Comes Before The Flower

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count








Herb Robertson NY Downtown Allstars
Real Aberration
Clean Feed
2007


Alípio C Neto Quartet
The Perfume Comes Before the Flower
Clean Feed
2007
Year




Trumpeter Herb Robertson's NY Downtown Allstars is a band of bandleaders: Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Mark Dresser (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). For Real Aberration, a two-CD live recording made at the Casa Da Musica, in Porto, Portugal in 2006, Robertson wrote all of the material, but his compositions aren't overly concerned with detailed ensemble structures or tightly negotiated heads. His art is to make these pieces feel like fiery improvisations, his works sounding like guiding structures rather than controlling charts.

Disc 1 features "Sick[s] Fragments," which are certainly not episodic in nature. Instead, they develop very gradually, allowed ample time to make a measured procession from one section to another. There are virtually no breaks between the six tracks, the whole piece imbued with the character of a suite. Dresser is by turns brutal with his strings, then delicate, dominating for nearly ten minutes before the drums enter for their own statement. The horns take their time to begin their bustling and there is a similarity to Cecil Taylor's build-up of contrasting phases, with Courvoisier providing exotic Far Eastern chime-tones to this miasma of sound. The second disc presents "Re-Elaboration," a single extended work, which also has a very gradual developmental curve, with Dresser percussing, Courvoisier tentatively entering, while Robertson and Berne blow almost silently into their tubes. Dresser initiates an obsessive clunking and Rainey responds, the horns starting to riff, piano alternately sprinkling and thundering. Momentum gathers until a drumming tattoo threatens to close this slightly inconclusive composition.

Ironically, the precise brilliance of Robertson's soloing and his fully crackling tone are more in evidence on the Brazilian tenor saxophonist Alípio C. Neto's The Perfume Comes Before the Flower, recorded in Brooklyn with Ken Filiano (bass), Ben Stapp (guest tuba) and Michael TA Thompson, who describes himself as a soundrhythium percussionist, but actually sounds as though he's mostly playing a regular kit.

Neto's pieces also possess a strong improvisatory feel, their vocabulary harking back to the '70s loft scene, with fleeting themes giving way to extended bursts of shaped chaos. Robertson's trumpet and cornet solos are the complete embodiment of brassiness, his ripping tone always bright, gutsy and on the attack. He works well with Neto, supporting the leader's squalling multiphonics, commenting and underlining. At one stage, both of them alternately keep up a flute twitter while the other solos on their regular horn, cowbells shaking and nimble tuba making its first appearance, adding a quality that's reminiscent of early Arthur Blythe. Energy levels are kept high throughout the entire disc and both of these albums effectively address the tensions between composition and improvisation, the best stretches often ensuing when each sounds like the other.


Tracks and Personnel

Real Aberration

Tracks: Sick(s) Fragments; Re-Elaboration.

Personnel: Herb Robertson: trumpet; Mark Dresser: bass; Sylvie Courvoisier: piano; Tim Berne: alto sax: Tom Rainey: drums.

The Perfume Comes Before the Flower

Tracks: the perfume comes before—early news; the will—nissarana; the flower—aboio; the pure experience—sertão; la réalité—dancing cosmologies.

Personnel: Alípio C. Neto: tenor sax: Ben Stapp: tuba; Herb Robertson : trumpet; Ken Filiano: bass; Michael T. A. Thompson: drums.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Harp Happenings: Brandee Younger And Pacific Harp Project" Multiple Reviews Harp Happenings: Brandee Younger And Pacific Harp Project
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Jan Lundgren: Swedish Ballads... & More...  Quietly There" Multiple Reviews Jan Lundgren: Swedish Ballads... & More... Quietly There
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Three from Henry Kaiser on Balance Point Acoustics" Multiple Reviews Three from Henry Kaiser on Balance Point Acoustics
by John Eyles
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Marc Copland: Zenith and Haunted Heart" Multiple Reviews Marc Copland: Zenith and Haunted Heart
by John Ephland
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!