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Trumpeter Herb Robertson has demonstrated his facility in (albeit unconventional) melodic settings. But he also has great potential for the "other" kind of improvised music. Ritual, a striking example of the latter, was performed on Leap Day, 2000. Recorded live to two-track in a darkened room lit only by candles (spooky!), he offers a tour of his truly vast sonic universe. With accompaniment by drummer Phil Haynes, Robertson explores some seriously extraterrestrial sounds.
By means only imaginable to this listener, he stretches the trumpet to the full limits of its sonic potential. Haynes is game for the occasional creative, punchy rhythmic interplaybut he plays much more the role of colorist than timekeeper. Thus their duets on Ritual consist entirely of free improvisation. Only toward the second half of the record does Robertson hint at any kind of linear play. The absence of conventional melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic forms creates an intriguing alternative to Robertson's more structured work as a sideman.
With their generous use of space, both these musicians make each note a deliberate act; and the dynamic range on this disc is dangerously huge. These two musicians treat structure as something to create in the moment and then wantonly destroy on a path elsewhere. As you might imagine, they occupy perilous ground.
Track Listing: Ritual Parts 1; 2; 3; 4.
Personnel: Herb Robertson: trumpet; Phil Haynes: drums, percussion.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...