Monday, March 27, 2017

Peter Brotzmann and Johannes Bauer - Blue City (Trost records, 2017)

Recorded live at Blue City in Osaka, Japan in 1997, this tape was found by serendipity, in a box of archived music labelled with date, venue, city. The music is a duet between Peter Brotzmann on tenor and alto saxophones, b-flat clarinet and tarogato and Johannes Bauer on trombone and they create some strangely fascinating music. "Name That Thing" is a raw and immediate journey, whose opening shows the music blasting off the launchpad on to a nearly half hour long performance. Great peals of saxophone fly over the accompanying trombone, creating sparks and opportunities for exploration allowing the musicians to make the most of the particular circumstances of the setting. The forces the musicians are experiencing in those two different directions make for delightful contrast and creating an underlying symmetry that is very impressive. There is an interesting unaccompanied section for Brotzmann, who is then rejoined by the trombonist for a raw and scouring section of music. Bauer repeats a phrase building focus and the music drifts to near silence. They build back up dynamically, with Brotzmann's exotic torogato creating waves of sound, shadowed by trombone, and slowly enveloping one another in an elaborate dance with a unique symmetry that shows the music transforming by degree over time. Brotzmann moves back to tenor for long tones of saxophone, haunting and powerful, punctuated by rending squeals and Bauer's contrasting sound. Brotzmann moves to clarinet for "Poppy Cock," swirling and swaying across the gentle accompaniment of the trombone. The music begins slowly and carefully, and the musicians take their time developing a fine improvisation, led by Bauer's thoughtful and patient tone which explores aspects of pure sound in open space for the majority of this performance. "Heard and Seen" takes the music in another direction, with powerful blowing and a scouring search, making their music enthralling for the listener. Raw sound is very exciting in this situation, suggesting infinite possibilities for improvisation. Ripe sounding saxophone bursts forward followed by subtle trombone riffs. They conclude with the very exciting "Hot Mess" which brings everything together for a fine concluding statement. Bauer, who passed away last year, had a very successful career in music including many collaborations with Peter Brotzmann and this album serves as a fine reminder of their empathetic relationship. Blue City -

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