Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sonote - OTO (Trost Records, 2011)

Consisting of three veterans of avant garde/free jazz, Ken Vandermark on tenor and baritone saxophone and b-flat clarinet, Mats Gustafson on tenor and baritone saxophone, Peter Brotzmann on alto and tenor saxophone, clarinet and tarogato. I really liked the way the three musicians play together, whether in unison or supporting a soloist. The music blends together well, somewhat akin to the World Saxophone Quartet, although the musicians are willing to take the music farther afield and away from definable melody. The textures and densities of the music are in constant flux, shifting like grains of sand across a desert landscape, always keeping the listener on their toes. The first performance, “Fragments for an Endgame” is a short one, almost whetting the appetite for the lengthy improvisations to come. Things really kick into gear with two long improvisations, “(I Was Arranging Her) Arms” and “Le Chien Perdu” which feature improvised texture and free thinking comprehension about how roughly similar sounding instruments can blend together to make coherent and exploratory music. Swirling swaths of saxophone are key here, whether improvising together or breaking out for an individual solo. This disc was recorded during the taping of the BBC Jazz on 3 radio show, and shows how both powerful and delicate the music can be. Oto -

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