This date from 2013 presents New York City based guests trumpeter Roy Campbell and German drummer Klaus Kugel with three Amsterdam-located improvisers as part of the DoEK organization's annual Festival. Campbell, a stalwart of the NYC avant scene who died in 2014, gained early exposure with Jemeel Moondoc's Ensemble Muntu and went on to helm his own Pyramid Trio and co-lead the revered cooperative Other Dimensions in Music, among a host of other projects. He brings his fiery updating of hard bop legends Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham to bear on a single 38-minute collective blow which is by turns punchy, combustible, calming and cathartic.
The set unfolds in a series of tutti which spawn spontaneous solos, each of which is gradually submerged back into the group fabric. Everyone instinctively understands the unwritten formula, to allow space for individual expression while continually reassessing options: whether to support, challenge or fall silent. Such occasions are a mainstay of free jazzers the world over and no-one holds back here. Tenor saxophonist John Dikeman's star has risen yet further since this session, as his Albert Ayler-inspired outpourings finding an ever-widening circle of collaborators, not least a stellar trio with bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake.
Among many fine moments, one of the most intense features Belgian bassist Peter Jacquemyn and Dutch cellist Raoul van der Weide in a flammable explosion of fierce bowing just past the halfway point, before Campbell's muted trumpet performs a cooling role. It's familiar territory for Kugel, thanks to stints with the likes of unfettered reedmen Charles Gayle and Joe McPhee, and trombonist Steve Swell, and he well appreciates the need to keep things transparent much of the time, only really cutting loose towards the end, as trumpet and tenor intertwine in one of the most exciting passages.
The shared command of dynamics as well as instruments results in an engaging long form experience, which also provides a valuable reminder of the spark and sense of order Campbell could impart to such unbuttoned events.
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