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William Hooker & Liudas Mockūnas: Live at Vilnius Jazz Festival

Mark Corroto By

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Did somebody say "bring it?" Must have, because the combination of muscleman drummer William Hooker and Lithuanian saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas surely delivers the goods in this 53-minute duo improvisation performance at the Vilnius Jazz Festival in October 2013.

The four lengthy tracks are part of a continuous set the two seared into their audience's ears. Certainly, the combination of Hooker's dynamo and Mockūnas' lung bursting breath are present here, so is a discriminating subtle sound.

Hooker, a musical omnivore, can be heard in both intimate and avant-rock settings. His ability to change his stripes depending on the scene has made him a guest of artists from the likes of Billy Bang and Christian Marclay to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo. His use of thunderous rock drumming, often shunned by improvised players, complements Mockūnas' saxophones here. That is, when they haven't shifted from the heavy to the the clement. These vertiginous departures accentuate their music. The pounding of "Idea" morphs into the rattle of sticks on metal in "Ideal." Hooker provides a continuous pulse here (a rare event) while Mockūnas snakes his way around an ambling solo. The saxophonist who has become steeped in the Scandinavian jazz ethos, has worked with Mats Gustafsson, Stefan Pasborg, Evan Parker, and Barry Guy. His sound can be blunt and thunderous or, lithe and precise. Audiences certainly came to this concert for the fireworks, but stayed for the sympathetic show.

Track Listing: Id; Idea; Ideal; Idol.

Personnel: William Hooker: drums; Liudas Mockūnas: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone.

Title: Live at Vilnius Jazz Festival | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

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