On And, Kyle Bruckmann displays his double-reed talents in conjunction with the talents of a handful of friends -- who happen to be highly skilled improvisers from the Chicago area. Percussionist Michael Zerang is featured on three of the 12 short pieces. Jim Baker, Jeb Bishop, and Gene Coleman appear twice, while Fred Lonberg-Holm, Scott Rosenberg, and Weasel Walter each has one pass with Bruckmann, who shifts among his oboe, English horn, suona, and raita. This album constitutes the next logical step from his 2000 solo CD, Entymology. Other great free improvisers have yielded only half-conclusive results with similar mixed duets (John Butcher and Brett Larner come to mind), but the oboist pulls it off for two main reasons. First, all tracks were recorded in the same studio, over a short period (two sessions four days apart). This ensures a homogenous sound quality and unity in the musical discourse. Second, the track order varies instruments and partners, bringing some of them back to create a coherent work. Percussion provides the main structure: Zerang opens the set with his feather-touch playing. He later comes back about one-third and two-thirds into the album. The last piece features the frenzied drumming of Weasel Walter (paired with the suona it makes for one of the strangest and compelling moments of the set), bringing things to a natural conclusion. Highlights include the quasi-contemporary chamber duet with Rosenberg on contrabass clarinet and the two cuts with Bishop, but the album as a whole is recommended.
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