All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...

792

Peter Brotzmann Trio at Cafe Oto, London

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Peter Brotzmann, John Edwards, Steve Noble
Cafe Oto
London
January 30, 2010

As the crowd gathered outside north London's Cafe Oto waiting for the doors to open, a solitary figure stood spotlit under a streetlamp just up the road. German saxophone iconoclast Peter Brötzmann was savoring a moment of calm reflection, smoking on a cigar, alone with his thoughts and the cold night air. Such quiet made for a stark contrast to the squalling tumult soon to be unleashed indoors when the grizzled reedman held sway, in the company of bassist John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble.




An already stimulating program at Cafe Oto has been supersized by a series of residencies which see an internationally renowned artist present in assorted ad hoc settings for two or more nights. Having successfully hosted Joe McPhee and Tatsuya Yoshida in 2009 the venue kicked off the New Year in formidable style with Brotzmann in residence for three nights at the end of January.

Edwards was a holdover from previous evenings, when the bassist had been joined by Tony Marsh behind the traps and further guests keyboardist Pat Thomas and trumpeter Roland Ramanan rounding the saxophonist's outfit out to a foursome. In addition Brotzmann had played brief solo sets before a longer group exploration. Tonight there was to be full-blooded ensemble fare only, with two slabs of unpremeditated uncompromising invention totalling some 80 minutes.

Although in his sixty eighth year, Brotzmann shows no signs of slowing down. A fearsome schedule includes his Chicago Tentet and various sub-groupings such as the all reed Sonore and a quartet with McPhee, as well as his ferocious Full Blast Trio and Hairy Bones Quartet reuniting him with trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, all of which have issued releases within the last year. On top of these established outlets, the reedman's peripatetic streak sees him travelling the globe to make music with a stunning range of collaborators, as evidenced by more releases with Arab and Japanese musicians. It was this irregular strand of his activity on show tonight.



Brotzmann starts from the place where most other saxophonists climax, and just keeps on going from there. So no surprise that the first set opened with a characteristically paint stripping alto saxophone clarion call, abraded by a sandpaper arco drone from Edwards and Noble's roiling drums which conspired to construct a churning stasis. From the outset the reedman's stamina was astonishing, building shriek on raucous shriek, in an exhibition of unremitting intensity. In such circumstances Edwards was forced to resort to a hyperkinetic strum just to hang on. At last the tension broke and Brotzmann subsided, like a passing storm, allowing some respite for the rhythm team. Edwards began a slow walking pattern sidling up and down his fretboard, while Noble, freed from stoking the fires prospected texture, striking cymbals placed on his drum heads for increased resonance, in loose time. This cycle of sustained coruscating assault followed by (relative) tranquility, with the German's reeds giving way to bass and drum interplay set the template for the performance.



With the ear inevitably alighting on what stands outside the norm the passages which stand out in memory were those which contrasted with the prevailing high energy wall of sound. Two particular sections in the second set were among the highlights. First was a Brotzmann cameo, emerging from the aftermath of another incendiary episode. As the pulse became more relaxed, the reedman embarked upon a bucolic stretch of gruff lyricism, eventually musing acapella variations around his elegiac "Master Of A Small House" theme, committed to disc on Tales Out Of Time (Hat Hut, 2004). His wide quivering vibrato allied to controlled power added layers of harmonic overtones, heightening the impact of an already passion-drenched declamation. When Brotzmann suddenly tightened his embouchure, narrowing his tone, that was just the signal Edwards and Noble needed to resume, calibrating position for yet more breakneck furore.

Though not his most frequent band mates, the German has hitched his star to Edwards bass an number of times in the past, appearing as a guest with B-Shops for the Poor as far back as 1991. Edwards has come a long way since then, having become almost ubiquitous on the London scene, and a fixture at European festivals. Evan Parker is a regular colleague and the bassist can be heard most recently on the saxophonist'sHouse Full of Mirrors (Tzadzik, 2009). Noble is a regular rhythm section partner, and the two supported McPhee at his residency . Together their brand of freeform rhythmic alchemy can be heard on a stream of recordings with the likes of Alan Wilkinson, guitarist and clarinetist Alex Ward and Alexander Hawkins.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Live In Tel Aviv

Live In Tel Aviv

Not Two Records
2017

buy
Risc

Risc

Trost Records
2016

buy
Münster Bern

Münster Bern

Cubus Records
2016

buy
Ears Are Filled With Wonder

Ears Are Filled With...

Not Two Records
2016

buy
Soulfood Available

Soulfood Available

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Dixie Dregs at the Boulder Theater" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at the Boulder Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "Tortilla Soup with Tony Lindsay At Yoshi's" Live Reviews Tortilla Soup with Tony Lindsay At Yoshi's
by Walter Atkins
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Athens Aqua Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Athens Aqua Jazz Festival 2018
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: July 14, 2018
Read "Big Ears Festival 2018" Live Reviews Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read ""A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane" Live Reviews "A Love Supreme" with Ravi Coltrane
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 6, 2017