Ginger Baker / Ginger Baker's No Material

Live in Munich, Germany 1987

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No Material consisted of Ginger Baker (drums), Nicky Skopelitis and Sonny Sharrock (guitars), Peter Brötzmann (sax), and Jan Kazda (bass). The band existed for less than a week in 1987. In the liner notes for the 1989 release of Ginger Baker's No Material album, Steve Lake closes by saying "I'm glad that No Material came together to nail down their non-repertoire in March 1987 and glad that their efforts are now preserved for posterity to puzzle over. May the archivists now go and look for the Munich gig." Well, 20-plus years later, here is the Munich gig: the first show ever performed by this semi-legendary band. As expected, the performance is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, the recording is not. The biggest issue is the sound. While it's generally clear, the sound is thin and the high end (especially any cymbal work) sounds terrible. It sounds as if the CD was mastered from a compressed MP3 file. Then there's the way it's programmed. The brief interview excerpts follow the first two tracks, totally derailing the momentum of the show. The Sharrock bit is nice, if a bit out of place, but the Skopelitis excerpt adds absolutely nothing. Time must have been a factor because "Piece 3" fades out and back in somewhat clumsily. "Piece 5" is basically solo Sharrock, riffing on his own "Blind Willie" before fading out just shy of the two-minute mark. It's a confusing way to end the album since there was clearly more music. Fans will want to hear this for sure, but they're likely to be somewhat disappointed.

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