Blue Zoo

Borah Bergman

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Blue Zoo Review

by Thom Jurek

Oh yeah, here we go. Three of free improv's wildest wonders in a set of spontaneous compositions set to curl the hair on the back of your neck and send you screaming into the night. Nah, it's not all that bad -- or good, depending on your point of view -- but this is a fine example of how the spontaneous composition principle works when it's displayed by three monster musicians such as these. With two sax players (and Brötzmann also plays bass clarinet) and a pianist all waiting for the moment to cut loose -- and wait, and wait, and wait -- the results are bound to be a bit daunting. And while it's true they are, they're also a hell of a lot of fun. Here tensions are created endlessly, it seems, just to see who is going to break and tear into the open field of improvisation first. Certainly "Clear Visions" is like this, as are the title track and "Stride Ahead." Elsewhere the trio seems to engage one another in creating loose intervals of improvisation, evoking senses of time and even rhythm in places, which is an illusion. The intervals created are for polytonal engagement, especially between the two saxophonists. As these duels ensue as they do on "Right Now" and "One Block West," Borah Bergman tears into the high register and establishes a percussive ostinato that falters in between intervals and moves off to create another it cannot sustain; there's too much going on tonally to stay put for very long at all. Hence this is a rabid-dog dialogue that is more restrained than it would at first appear, but is nonetheless wilder than 99 percent of the free improv work out there. It may not be for the faint-hearted, but it is truly rewarding music.

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