30

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

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Thomas Borgmann / Wilber Morris / Reggie Nicholson: Nasty & Sweet 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.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Northern Adventures" CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Jojje Wadenius (70)" CD/LP/Track Review Jojje Wadenius (70)
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!