Monday, October 17, 2016

Peter Brotzmann/William Parker/Hamid Drake - Song Sentimentale (Otoroku, 2016)

You might think with a title like Song Sentimentale, that this album could be a victory lap for three of the most important players on the free jazz scene, Peter Brotzmann on tenor saxophone, B flat clarinet, tarogato, William Parker on double bass, guembri, shakuhachi, shenai and Hamid Drake on drums, vocals and percussion, but there is little sentiment on display here. The musicians are very familiar with one another, and their paths have crossed many times over the years, particularly on the superb double album Never Too Late, But Always Too Early. The music on this album is strong and focused, creating a free jazz set that becomes suite-like due to the near telepathic interplay of the musicians. The music develops organically on “Shake-A-Tear” with very powerful tenor saxophone, bass and drums advancing a powerful collective improvisation. As the music moves into “Stone Death” and particularly the concluding "Dwellers in a Dead Land,” which is the longest track on the album, their aptitude shines through with a near incandescent light. The very long concluding improvisation begins with Drake developing a subtle rhythmic foundation and vocalizing in a hypnotic manner. Parker plays an exotic string instrument and Brötzmann, moves to the Hungarian reed instrument tarogato, and the music is completely fascinating at this point, moving away from traditional free improvisation into cutting edge world music. Brotzmann will move further out into his clarinet and tarogato, Parker will move into improvising on his exotic instruments and Drake provides further inspiration with voice and ever shifting rhythm. The texture of the music on this album is ever shifting like sheets of rain and sand on a distant shore. This is an excellent album from three masters that have nothing to prove. They pursue a greater goal and succeed grandly in making excellent music. Song Sentimentale - amazon.com

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