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PETER BROTZMANN - "14 Love Poems plus 10 more" [Dedicated to Kenneth Patchen]
FMP []

When it rains, it really pours, and recently, we can’t complaint of a shortage of Peter Brotzmann releases. “Tales Out of Time” was a rather anticipated record by many fans of both reedmen Peter Brotzmann as well as Joe McPhee. So, I guess this begs the question, who do you give the feature billing two? The answer is quite simple: both men share the credits, along with collaborators, bassist Kent Kessler and percussionist Michael Zerang. I remember seeing this quartet [inside of the Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet] about a week before this session was put down on tape. They were simply smoking, steaming, boiling, and whatever other superlative you want to throw their way. So, it's no wonder then that this record in itself doesn't pose that many surprises. The axis of Brotzmann - McPhee beautifully work off each other. At times, they're gentle and there are signs of real ballads [which are a real treat to hear, especially coming from Brotzmann]. At other times, they blow fury like there's no tomorrow. Certain tracks give their collaborators room to shine. "Cymbalism", for instance, is a working vehicle for percussionist Michael Zerang. The piece itself works well by itself, and is not meant by any means as a filler for the record. Brotzmann composition, "Do you Still Love Me / Did I Ever" showcases the duo at their peak. The emotional peaks come and go, cumulating in the traditional "Blessed Assurance", where you can evidently hear both saxophonists’ horns cry - a real cry of pain and sorrow it is. All screams, whales and soft-spoken blows point to the fact that this duo should have been a reality a long, long time ago. By Brotzmann's standards, this is a rather user-friendly record. There isn't one stretched out passage that would scare a traditional jazz fan. But then again, we're dealing with a furious assault by Brotzmann and McPhee. So, who am I kidding really? Open your ears. Just listen.

Aaaaahhhhh.....another solo Brotzmann date. What news does Peter have to offer us now? Actually, this is no news at all, as "14 Love Poems" is a reissue of a 1984 record. It is only fitting that a love poems record begins with Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman". I'd never quite heard a more tender Brotzmann piece than this one. While his baritone tone on this piece is tender, serene, and even lovely [how I hate this word], it retains all of Brotzmann's full-bodied aroma. It has force, and it has the power to tell the world, "this IS a Peter Brotzmann piece". In reality, the opening Coleman cover is probably the most "tender" of the "14 Love Poems". The remaining 23 pieces for the most part, have more fury, more character, and certainly more ferocity. To mix things up, Brotzmann alternates between the baritone, tenor, alto and various clarinets. There are other examples of serene ballads on this record, and to be honest, I can't recall Brotzmann ever being in such a tender mood for an entire record. This is NOT however to be mistaken for a ballad record. This is NOT "Brotzmann does ballads". It is Brotzmann reinventing himself, and showing the world that he can play at half-speed, while retaining all of his well-known fury. For those that only know Brotzmann's work from "Machine Gun" or Chicago Tentet, "14 Love Poems" comes highly recommended to showcase another side of the man in search of his sound, and maybe even himself.

Tom Sekowski

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>> Peter Brotzmann / Joe McPhee / Kent Kessler / Michael Zerang - Tales Out of Time; Peter Brotzmann - 14 Love Poems plus 10 more

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