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John Wolf Brennan: Momentum

Glenn Astarita By

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John  Wolf Brennan: Momentum
Momentum is all about bare bones, raw – down to the nitty-gritty improvisations from the Trio of pianist John Wolf Brennan, Gene Coleman who performs on bassclarinet and melodica and percussionist Christian Wolfarth. The liners offer several different interpretations of momentum or – for the moment-whether literal, philosophical or pertaining to musical form or composition.

From the opening statements of “Robots Don’t Cough” the duo of Brennan who performs on the prepared piano and percussionist Wolfarth delve into fragmented themes which at times seem surreal or in some instances, unsettling. Coleman’s often industrial or mechanical sounding bassclarinet work on “Situanos” suggests movement along with the fluctuating and quite unpredictable pulse provided by Wolfarth yet the music is often colorful and absorbing -for those who are willing to concentrate. This is not casual listening by any stretch of the imagination! On “Nadir”, the Trio extend notes, employ microtonal sounds and themes, deconstruct and reassemble subtle or faint melodies while Wolfarth fabricates a soft pulse utilizing brush strokes on his snare drum.

The music and group interplay heats up on “With a Knot-knowing Smile”, “Grrrvity” and “Harmolodic Outlaws” as the musicians engage in frantic conversation amid clattering percussion along with an almost cyclical sense of movement or “momentum”. It is a fair assumption that these gentlemen are feeding off one another which of course is a key component of successful improvisation yet the music and overall approach does beg for the listener’s undivided attention, otherwise it just won’t work! Momentum is musically if not intellectually demanding as if the trio were engaged in some meditative or trance like ritual yet a true sense of animated movement prevails.

Mission accomplished gentlemen!

Personnel

John Wolf Brennan, p, prepared p; Gene Coleman, b cl; Christian Wolfarth, perc.

Track listing: Robots don't cough / Poco Loco / Siluanos / To hoo wa bo hoo / Nadir / Melometris / (With a) knot-knowing Smile / Grrrvity / Harmolodic Outlaws / Zenith.

Album information

Title: Momentum | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Leo Records

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