Phil Haynes

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Brooklyn-Berlin Review

by Steve Loewy

Billed as the Phil Haynes-Herb Robertson quintet, this stunning pianoless group achieves a unique blend of colors with two clarinetists (Ned Rothenberg and Vinny Golia), cornet/trumpet (Herb Robertson), drums (Haynes), and bass (Ken Filiano). With five "name" players, the danger might be one of egos taking precedence over the music. That is never the case here, as there is a perfect synergy reached, and a momentum that keeps the focus for more than an hour of stimulating give and take. Fortunately, the horns have plenty of time to stretch. While Robertson produces a wide and magnificent spectrum of sounds, so do the clarinetists, and the blend of the horns is both revealing and fully satisfying. The genre is perhaps best categorized as "free jazz" rather than simply "free improvisation," the distinction being the emphasis in the former on melodic lines and bop-oriented rhythms, however loosely constructed. The results are enervating, convincing, and even surprisingly accessible.

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