Thursday, November 21, 2019

Peter Brotzmann - I Surrender Dear (Trost, 2019)

Peter Brotzmann had recorded over seven hours of material for his solo album, and ultimately to whittle it down, so he decided to just focus on the tenor saxophone. He was looking for a connection to the past, standards he played while learning his instruments and still whistles to himself today and their ties to music and art that are being made in the present moment. Title track "I Surrender Dear" is played patiently and with great tact and subtlety. Brotzmann's unique tone is still there but dialed back to make room for the melody. The music is played in a very dignified and thoughtful manner, eventually adding some tactful high register accents. This moves directly into "Lover Come Back to Me" which sees Brotzmann improvising a little more freely, but "Lady Sings The Blues" is a marvel of economy and taste, as he keeps the notes to a minimum and the touch and feel of the music is deep and powerful. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" backs into the familiar theme and then uses it to develop swinging saxophone that continually refers back to the theme before starting to dissemble it. Quiet and understated, "Crurchsong" feels like listening in on Brotzmann during a quiet moment alone, as he plays music that is unadorned and quite beautiful. "Shumpin" adds some of the more raw and grating sound that people may be accustomed to hearing, he plays rising tones like a call to action, and then builds a questing improvisation off of this opening, wonderfully reminiscent of early sixties Albert Ayler. This rawness is also at the heart of "Brötziman" where he takes his saxophone and shows the unique tone and approach that he has built over the course of his career. The imposing serrated edge of his sound cuts through the air, and he creates a spontaneous improvisation of immense quality. "Love Poems Nr. 7 and Dark Blues" stretches out over ten minutes, building a moody and earthy beginning, and gradually picking up the pace with his overall sound getting wider and broader, and he will dynamically shift the softer more melodic portions and the harsher toned areas. The final piece is a second version of "I Surrender Dear" with this one developing in a more abstract direction than the first one, though its clear that this composition touches him and he plays in a sensitive  in both the theme and subsequent improvisation. While this may not be the typical Brotzmann performance (if such a thing even exists) it is the vulnerability that he shows on these tracks that make them so appealing. He is exposed in the solo format, but the openness suits him, allowing him to clearly present his approach to music for all to hear. I Surrender Dear - Bandcamp

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