You can forgive yourself if you get the feeling that you're a bit of a voyeur while listening to I Surrender Dear, the solo recording by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. This sense of eavesdropping is due to the intimate sounds and the great man's choice of music. This intimacy is not something you generally associate with Brötzmann's music. Typically, one has to stand clear of the blast radius of his performance, but there is something redolent of the past about this session.
By a rough count this is the saxophonist's ninth solo release, dating back to his Solo (FMP Records, 1976), and the more recent (and almost impossible to find) Münster Bern (Cubus Records, 2015). Unlike all his previous unaccompanied outings, here he sticks solely to tenor saxophone. Perhaps that is the source of the sentimentality, though let's not call it nostalgia.
Of the twelve tracks, eight are covers. With the title track, he revisits music popularized by Bing Crosby, and made famous by Coleman Hawkins, and then Thelonious Monk. Brötzmann lingers over the sound, eschewing fortissimo as a means of communication. It is as if he were performing for an audience of one. Let's not forget this oracle of the free jazz explosion of the 1960s had (and has) a keen ear for the music of Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington, and Lester Young. Certainly memories of Prez are conjured with his cover of "Lover Come Back To Me" and "Lady Sings The Blues." This is Brötzmann looking back, maybe disclosing the raw materials that made up his oeuvre. His take on Sonny Rollins "Sumphin'" attempts to suppress his inner-Brötzmann in service of Rollins' contribution to music. This clash of approach remains unresolved until he opens the throttle with "Brozziman," and we hear his full-throated tenor voice. Listen and decide if the artist was recording this music for himself or the ghosts of music past.
I Surrender Dear; Lover Come Back To Me; Lady Sings The Blues; Con Alma; Nice Work If You Can Get
It; Dark Blues; Improvisation Über Ein Thema Von JS Bach; ChurchSong; Sumpin’; Brozziman;
Ballade/Love Poem Nr. 7/Blues; I Surrender Dear.
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