Monday, January 14, 2013

Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet - Walk, Love, Sleep (Smalltown Superjazz, 2012)

When German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann announced the ending of his longstanding Chicago TenTet, it put to bed one of the longest standing collaborative big bands of recent memory. This album was recorded with its usual stellar mix of Americans from the Chicago scene like Ken Vandermark and Jeb Bishop along with their counterparts from Europe like the saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. This music was recorded live Cafe Ada, in Wuppertal, Germany (part 1, part 2) on April 11, 2011. This collection includes three lengthy improvisations over the course of two compact discs. “To Walk In” is a massive slab of music clocking in at forty-four minutes. The interesting thing about this performance is how it develops in a suite like fashion. Certainly there are several passages of explosive full band improvisation, but individual soloists are also featured. Brotzmann, Vandermark and Gustafsson release gales of thrilling saxophone, but there is also room for downshifting, allowing bassist Kent Kessler and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm to speak their piece as well. The centerpiece of  “To Love In” comes about halfway in, a torrid section of free improvisation that becomes nearly hallucinatory in its intensity. It seems unreal that such a potentially unwieldy group can play so loud, and so fast, developing into a near state of ecstasy. Finally “To Sleep In” consolidates all of the music played during the evening, allowing the musicians to celebrate their achievements in a humble and thoughtful way. Walk Love Sleep -

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