Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Br: Stone/Water


Sign in to view read count
If you already have the 1998 3-CD release by the Brötzmann Chicago Octet/Tentet on Okka Disk, then reading this review is a waste of time: what more could be said? On the other hand, if you don't yet have that mammoth document of free jazz: life is short-what are you waiting for?

Actually, this tentet is slightly different than the one that dropped thousands of jaws worldwide via the 1998 set. Joe McPhee's sublime pocket cornet/valve trombone/soprano sax playing is absent, as well as Mars Williams' powerful reed playing. The brass duties are picked up by Toshinori Kondo, a Japanese musician who apparently has been an irregular participant in the avant-garde music world, devoting his time to other activities like commercial music and male modelling. Nevertheless, he is known for his association with Derek Bailey and other noteworthy improvisers over the past twenty years or so. The other new face here hardly needs any introduction, the esteemed William Parker, the engine that's driven a great deal of important 'universal music' over the years. It goes without saying that Parker fits the ensemble like a glove.

Vandermark, Bishop, Lomberg-Holm, Zerang, and Drake are all vital figures in the contemporary Chicago improvised music world. There would hardly be space here to discuss their extensive discographies. Gustafsson hails from Sweden and has surely already confounded your senses by now with his outrageous reed explosions. Seeing him stomp his feet while playing a saxophone like you would never imagine in your wildest dreams was certainly a highlight of the Tentet's recent New York performances. Peter Brötzmann is, well, Peter Brötzmann. What can one say? Actually, I could say that Brötzmann's sensitive clarinet playing in tandem with Hamid Drake's passionate frame drum playing was another highlight of the shows I caught.

This disc contains a single continuous piece performed on May 23, 1998 as part of the 16th annual Festival De Musique De Actuelle' in Victoriaville, Canada. Composer credits are not given, but it sounds like a collective improvisation with sections for solos and different groupings planned in advance, perhaps by Brötzmann. Kondo is given a good deal of solo space, providing some spacy and tasteful trumpet+electronics. Bishop also has a long solo section with bass and drums really urging him to make some lucid statements on his trombone. We are also treated to Vandermark's characteristically superb clarinet work.

The whole thing starts off in full gear, with the reeds joined in a scream that could wake the dead. It is worth noting that this music reaches points of terrifying intensity at times, although it also balanced by a great deal of more subdued exploration. It seems to alternate between these extremes every few minutes or so, making for a very satisfying experience. Overall, this work is probably most similar to "Burning Spirit", the sole example of the Brötzmann Chicago Octet (minus McPhee and Gustafsson) on the 3-CD set.

Perhaps the simplest observation one could make about this recording is that we have ten deeply experienced improvisers, most of whom of have worked together in various combinations previous to this ensemble, and the fairly open format of the music allows them play in various groupings throughout the piece. Any one of these groupings would be an exciting event on its own, and so the Peter Brötzmann Tentet experience ultimately boils down to a whirlwind tour through a wide range of volatile combinations, each of which has its own internal logic and expressive potential. I certainly hope there is more yet to come.

This review appears courtesy of the Italian webmagazine ( Musicboom )

Personnel: Peter Br

Title: Stone/Water | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Okka Disk


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Let Your Mind...Space Out" CD/LP/Track Review Let Your Mind...Space Out
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "PausaLive" CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "This Is Nate Najar" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 3, 2017