Patrick Brennan: Rapt Circle & The Drum is Honor Enough


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Altoist Patrick Brennan's latest two releases, under the ever-evolving and exploratory guise of Sonic Openings Under Pressure, aren't threaded the same way, even when weaving the same musical material as he does in Rapt Circle.

The aforementioned documents live music from two different presentations in 2002. One of them included percussionist Juma Santos Ayantola, the other didn't. Therefore, aside from "Spin (that readily lends itself for a Cuban garabato ensemble if there were any left) and "Covert where Hilliard Greene is just nasty, the other four performances are different versions of two compositions by Brennan who writes all the material on both recordings.

Patrick Brennan: Sonic Openings Under Pressure

Rapt Circle

Cadence Jazz Records


The versions of "Scissor Bump and "Which Way What, whereupon Ayantola's work is featured on dun dun (the largest of the West African talking drums), Cuban congas and a bell tree are tighter, more reserved, melodic, as well as sonically distant, than those that don't.

Ayantola, distinguished resumé notwithstanding, comes across as a rather basic percussive licker and raconteur, though the compositions do take on quite a different polyglot character thanks to him. The greater feeling of energetic immediacy in the performance's presence and interplay of "Scissor Bump and "Which Way What sans percussion, however, disclose rather engaging, sparser and attractive shadings not present in the former more percussive renditions.

Brennan's writing and playing lies squarely within the so-called free or creative jazz stylistic taxonomy as an analysis of its respective genus, family, order, class and phylum would easily reveal. In Rapt Circle, Brennan's resourceful technique...with an agreeably dry tone even when stretched to its highest and fastest runs...is front and center. He can play. His writing is rather abundant, not difficult to follow, though suggestive potential grooves and melodies are easily abandoned in lieu of rabbiting around, perhaps pursuing...at times...too much. So much to play, so little time...

Patrick Brennan: Sonic Openings Under Pressure

The Drum is Honor Enough

Cadence Jazz Records


The Drum is Honor Enough...a studio recording...features Steve Swell on the trombone. He brings everything literally to the proverbial next level and demonstrates a highly advanced facility in what he does, when he does it and how he does it. This is so whether it be within the deliberate tempo of "Shadow Doin,' the fascinating exchanges between him and Brennan in the four sections of "Permeations Gumvindaboloo, or the jaw dropping "Rough Hue. This is simply a superior musical endeavor featuring a rare musical vision performed at the highest level in the market.

Both recordings are highly recommended and have extensive documentation therein.

Tracks and Personnel

Rapt Circle

Tracks: Scissor Bump; Spin; Which Way What; Scissor Bump; Covert; Which Way What.

Personnel: Patrick Brennan: alto sax; Hilliard Greene: contrabass; Newman Taylor Baker: drums; Juma Santos Ayantola: dun-dun, congas, bell tree (1-3).

The Drum is Honor Enough

Tracks: Hot Red; Shadow Doin'; Rough Hue; Drums Not Bombs; Permeations Gumvindaboloo Section 1; Permeations Gumvindaboloo Section 2; Permeations Gumvindaboloo Section 3; Permeations Gumvindaboloo Section 4.

Personnel: Patrick Brennan: alto sax; Steve Swell: trombone; Hilliard Greene: bass; Newman Taylor Baker: drums.

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