Ned Rothenberg: Parting & Harbinger

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Ned Rothenberg's Double Band was a force of the early '90s, a powerful pairing of horns, percussionists and electric bass and guitar historically made all the more potent by being one of the strongest sideman jobs performed by the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin.

The group's two records on the German Moers Music label perhaps haven't aged as well as one might have hoped, but they're still excellent documents of the energy jazz of the era: intelligent compositions, fiery solos and heavy, rocklike production.

Ned Rothenberg Double Band
Moers Music

In part as tribute to Chapin (who died of leukemia in 1998 at the age of 40), Rothenberg has released a final set of the Double Band and has retired the lineup from his compositional repertoire. Recorded in 1996 (making it the latest recording of the group), Parting easily measures up to the previous discs: mighty drumming from Michael Sarin and Samm Bennett, heavy bass and blasting guitar from Jerome Harris and Tony Scherr; and the juxtaposition of the saxophones—Chapin's spirited lines and Rothenberg's more angular pointillism—that were the group's mark.

Ned Rothenberg's Sync

It's difficult, almost ridiculous, to say "setting sentiment aside" when talking about someone as beloved yet overlooked as Chapin, but all told the trio disc Harbinger is a better record. Rothenberg's compositions aren't belabored, but they certainly aren't simple and as brilliantly executed by Jerome Harris on acoustic guitar and acoustic bass guitar and Samir Chatterjee on table, they resonate. The tablas are used smartly, not suggestively and Harris is great throughout. The clipped phrases of "One-Oh-Nine" in particular are just surprising: in five brief minutes the head is snipped and spliced as if they don't have enough time to play it; it would be rushed were it not so perfectly executed.

Rothenberg is a wonder on the reeds and is probably about the best shakuhachi player in jazz. Harbinger shows him at his best as a player, composer and bandleader.


Tracks: 1. End Over End (8:19); 2. Snowball (6:44); 3. Crosscut and Rip (9:10); 4. Fool's Parade (7:59); 5. Chemical Peel (10:27); 6. Last Dance (7:47); 7. Clav-Hay (4:55); 8. Faux Redd (3:28).
Personnel: Samm Bennett: Drums; Thomas Chapin: Flute, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax; Jerome Harris: Electric Bass, Electric Guitar; Ned Rothenberg: Flute, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax; Michael Sarin: Drums; Tony Scherr: Electric and Acoustic Bass.


Tracks: 1. March Hair (9:48); 2. Richie Havens (9:47); 3. One-Oh-Nine (5:04); 4. Phrygian Dream (10:36); 5. Miss Chief (5:51); 6. Tsuruta Kinshi (5:27); 7. Kashmir (10:20); 8. Macrame (6:10).

Personnel: Samir Chatterjee: tabla; Jerome Harris: acoustic guitar, acoustic bass guitar; Ned Rothenberg: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, shakuhachi.


Ned Rothenberg Events

Date Event Time
Mar15Wed Udentity
The Stone
New York, NY
8:00 pm

More Articles

Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read Pi Recordings 2016 Releases Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "John David Souther: Black Rose and Home By Dawn" Multiple Reviews John David Souther: Black Rose and Home By Dawn
by Doug Collette
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Two  Scandinavian Jazz Orchestras" Multiple Reviews Two Scandinavian Jazz Orchestras
by John Eyles
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Carla Bley & Jack DeJohnette: ECM Trios" Multiple Reviews Carla Bley & Jack DeJohnette: ECM Trios
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again" Multiple Reviews Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 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!

Buy it!