Label: Les Disques Victo – VICTO CD 093
Format: CD, Album; Country: Canada - Released: 2004
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at the 20 Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, 19 / 5 / 2003.
Graphics – François Bienvenue
Liner Notes – John Corbett
Painting [Cover Paintings] – Tania Girard-Savoie
Photography By – Caroline Forbes
Producer – Joanne Vézina, Michel Levasseur
Parker, Brötzmann, and Schlippenbach ’ s history goes back decades, but they had not played together in quite some time. With little practice time together, there was a question as to whether this would become simply a clash of titans, or if the sextet would find its way to more provocative collective heights. Over the course of a continuous 80-minute set, they managed to work at both extremes.
The buzz was high when the sextet hit the stage and the group seemed to feed off of it. Sections by the two trios serve as bookends for this continuous set. After an initial salvo where the twin tenors laid out bellowing torrents in full assault over stabbing piano clusters and roiling pulse, Parker ’ s trio was left to negotiate their snaking labyrinths. Those looking for a document of the trio at the height of that spring tour should be steered to America 2003, the two-disc document on Parker ’ s Psi label. That said, the Parker trio ’ s segment shows the group ’ s ability to move from muscular intensity to circuitous detail.
But it is other sub-groupings that provide the real highlights. After Die Like a Dog joins in, the reed players and W. Parker break off to leave Schlippenbach and the two drummers for a long central section. Here, the pianist ’ s Monk-like clusters and percussive prepared abstractions jostle against the coursing waves of Drake ’ s polyrhythmic pulse and Lytton ’ s free textures. When W. Parker joins in on bass and E. Parker dives in on soprano, the fractals fly with ever-mounting dramatic tension.
Oddly it is when the ensemble opens way for Brötzmann ’ s trio that things begin to flag. The reed player starts on tarogato but can ’ t seem to settle in, relying more on bluster and burly force than his usual molten barrage. When the trio breaks way for an extended bass/frame drum duo, then a bit later for a bass solo, it feels out of place with what had preceded.
When the full group finally convenes to finish things out, the energy is regained for an incendiary final blast. (Missing on the CD is the full-on five-minute encore with the whole group storming with an intensity gathered over the set.) Though a wildly uneven meeting, this is still one of those summits that was an intriguing reunion of masters and well worth checking out.
_ By MICHAEL ROSENSTEIN, 23 December 2004 (One Final Note)
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