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...

102

Herb Robertson & Phil Haynes: Ritual

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Extended length duo recordings aren’t exactly a scarcity in modern improvised music, but this set effectively raises a high bar nonetheless, both in terms of difficulty and nonidiomatic artistry. Recorded hours after the quartet session that yielded Brooklyn-Berlin (CIMP 221) the disc divides the earlier group down to the creative core of Robertson and Haynes. The program-length piece is parsed into four convenient entry points, but is best listened to straight through in it’s entirety. Their conversation opens with barely audible breath sounds and rubbed percussion. The volume rises almost imperceptibly as Haynes scuttling scrapes and patters are pierced by Robertson’s muffled cries. Later the sounds coalesce into articulated smears and loud percussive clatter forming a clearly underscored forward momentum. Changing to feathery brushes Haynes creates a stark rhythmic contrast to Robertson’s wet whinnies and sputters. Hearing the latter’s sounds it’s difficult not to imagine the streams of saliva being loosed into the metalwork of his horn.

Shortly into ‘Part 2’ Robertson drops out and Haynes is left to tinker rigorously with his kit creating a solo statement that makes the descriptor ‘unconventional’ seem terribly inadequate. Stirring around various objects on the skin surfaces of his drums the effect is as disconcerting as it is fascinating. Robertson’s ferrous timbral streaks on “Part 3” create another interlude of fierce experimentation threatening with their volume to overwhelm the recording mics. Toward the segment’s center he utters a barrage of gulping breath sounds followed by moist gurgling mutters that seem to make light of the amount of energy he is expending. “Part 4” returns the mood to an elegaic one with Robertson exploring a dour theme above the quiet cymbals of his partner.

Free improvisation in this kind of stripped down environment can instantly become a sink or swim proposition. In like fashion there are moments where Ritual seems to take on water, but the duo tempers these moments with many more that can leave the listener scratching his or her chin in admiration. Those listeners whose ears are easily aggravated by non-linear, abstract extemporization are likely to find this disc a chore and nusiance. Inquisitive listeners will find their patience proving a virtue however, particularly in dealing with the performance’s early stages. Much of the time Robertson and Haynes sound as if they’re playing more for themselves than for any audience, but while the introspective nature of much of their exchange can be off-putting, there’s still a great deal here that warrants concentrated listening.

CIMP on the web: http://www.cadencebuilding.com


Track Listing: Ritual Parts 1; 2; 3; 4.

Personnel: Herb Robertson: trumpet; Phil Haynes: drums, percussion.

Title: Ritual | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: CIMP Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019
Read Eastern Sonata Album Reviews
Eastern Sonata
By James Fleming
February 19, 2019
Read Cannonball Album Reviews
Cannonball
By Rob Rosenblum
February 19, 2019
Read Child Of Illusion Album Reviews
Child Of Illusion
By Don Phipps
February 19, 2019
Read Infection In The Sentence Album Reviews
Infection In The Sentence
By Chris May
February 18, 2019
Read Real Isn't Real Album Reviews
Real Isn't Real
By Phil Barnes
February 18, 2019