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.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sides of John Wetton Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD" Multiple Reviews Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD
by Doug Collette
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976"" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio" Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo" Multiple Reviews Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, &...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.