Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

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

More Articles

Read Solos CD/LP/Track Review Solos
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Invisible Threads CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Threads
by Samuel Stroup
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Wes Montgomery In Paris CD/LP/Track Review Wes Montgomery In Paris
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Pneuma CD/LP/Track Review Pneuma
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: January 24, 2018
Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Mogoya" CD/LP/Track Review Mogoya
by James Nadal
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Friendly Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Friendly Ghosts
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 1, 2017