All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

30

Thomas Borgmann / Wilber Morris / Reggie Nicholson: Nasty & Sweet

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
From the first few notes, it's apparent that something special is happening on Nasty & Sweet. Perhaps it's the way bassist Wilber Morris and drummer Reggie Nicholson sound so assured in their placement of the merest splashes of color. Completely unafraid to take their time, creating a powerful tension which isn't released even when German reedman Thomas Borgmann joins with his breathily majestic tenor saxophone smears. There is a story here.

Borgmann's trio with the monster US rhythm team of Morris and drummer Denis Charles was one of the great unsung working bands of the 1990s, releasing a series of marvelous performances, such as Boom Swing (Konnex, 1998) and Stalker Songs (CIMP, 1998) with saxophone titan Peter Brötzmann. When Charles passed away in 1998, the remaining pair made the decision to carry on, recruiting AACM stalwart Nicholson to fill the drum chair. With just one obscure vinyl disc and a single studio album to their name—the well-regarded You See What We're Sayin' (CIMP, 1999)—the resultant BMN trio similarly flew below the critical radar. So this two-LP set, documenting two live dates from St. Ingbert in Germany in 1998 and Tampere in Finland in 1999 doubles their discography at a stroke.

Honed to perfection through touring, the group ethos is one of equality and fleet responsiveness, turning on a dime from Berlin blues to ear shredding harmonics and roiling tattoos. Deep listening characterizes their interaction. Borgmann takes an unfettered lyrical approach, though he spices his poignant sweetness with pitch bending microtonal distortion and impassioned overblowing. Morris makes an art out of sculpting sounds from his amplified acoustic bass, strumming, bowing and tapping to extract a range of percussive textures in effective variance to his customary melodic counterpoint, while Nicholson drives the engine room sensitively, combining timbral smarts and fierce precision.

Spread over two sides, the 52-minute title track stands as a masterpiece of organically evolving group interplay, full of passion and warmth. By way of contrast, "We Went That Away" convinces as an up-tempo burner, while on "Wilber's Mood" the German's snake charmer sopranino embarks on a roller coaster ride. As much a mood as a tune, the band revisits "Nasty & Sweet" for the final cut, where an elegiac air pervades proceedings before the intensity builds incrementally, though regrettably the track fades out. Sadly Morris, brother of the recently deceased cornetist and exponent of conduction Laurence Butch Morris, died in 2002 signaling the end of the BMN Trio, making this unexpected resurrection all the more worth celebrating.

Track Listing: Nasty & Sweet (Part 1); Nasty & Sweet (Part 2); We Went That Away; Wilber's Mood; Nasty & Sweet.

Personnel: Thomas Borgmann: tenor, soprano, sopranino saxophones, toy whistle; Wilber Morris: bass; Reggie Nicholson: drums.

Title: Nasty & Sweet | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Od Ponedelnik CD/LP/Track Review
Od Ponedelnik
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Coast to Crossroads CD/LP/Track Review
Coast to Crossroads
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2018
Read Body CD/LP/Track Review
Body
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 13, 2018
Read "The Elements" CD/LP/Track Review The Elements
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "The Mugician" CD/LP/Track Review The Mugician
by Thomas Earl
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "In the Wake" CD/LP/Track Review In the Wake
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "While We Still Have Bodies" CD/LP/Track Review While We Still Have Bodies
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Memories of Maynard" CD/LP/Track Review Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018