Peter Brötzmann

Dare Devil

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Dare Devil is a concert document of saxophonist (who also doubles on bass clarinet here) Peter Brötzmann's tour of Japan in 1991. He is accompanied here by a trio of Nippon's vanguard musicians (drummer Shoji Hano, bassist Tetsu Yamauchi, and guitarist Haruhiko Gotsu). Like Peter Brötzmann's experiment with Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock, and Ronald Shannon Jackson as Last Exit, the recordings here are more riff-oriented than a series of free improvisations. They follow prescribed notions of rhythm and dynamic, but allow both Gotsu and Peter Brötzmann to escape the rhythmic trappings for more adventurous tonal terrain. While this is Peter Brötzmann's recording date and is issued under his name, it is Yamauchi and Hano that offer most of the surprises. Yamauchi's bass is right out front, pulsing and shredding like metalhead kids digging for a groove that will knock those in front of the stage down. They pop and punch and dance around one another with reckless abandon while reining in Peter Brötzmann and Gotsu. That is not to say everything here is all shred and no stead. Given how song-oriented this material is -- and this is a relative term, considering the personages involved here -- there are moments of minimal beauty and dramatic tension based on structured dynamics, such as on "We Must Be Slow," the most haunting and beautiful piece on the album, and the first few minutes of "Street Corner College." "Boxers Hit Harder When Women Are Around" is anthemic in its repetition. The steam picks up by the middle of the tune and carries straight through to the end of the record. Loping, insane, brutally long lines by Peter Brötzmann are echoed with harmonic extrapolations by Gotsu in low-strung guitar chords and frantic pizzicato bassing by Yamauchi. Clocking it at 18 minutes, it's the most frighteningly intense piece on the set. The jam closes with the Ayler-esque "May We All Go Home Now," a tonal improvisation that follows three notes played repetitively, and Peter Brötzmann's attempt to sing through them is almost hymn-like for a few moments until the band comes unglued trying to destroy everything they've built up in the course of the concert. But the communication between players cannot be undone, making this a most curious and satisfying date of international intrigue, badass blowing, and raw, dirty old fun.

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