Sacred Scrape/Secret Response pairs the searing Peter Brötzmann with two Cecil Taylor Unit alumni: the versatile William Parker on bass and Gregg Bendian on percussion. As with most Brötzmann records, the listener should not expect any standards or ballads. Instead, look forward to some of the most intense and passionate reedwork available on record. Brötzmann is an exceptionally powerful horn player both in terms of the emotional investment he puts into each performance and the sheer volume with which his music exits the instrument itself. Both of these attributes are immediately noticeable on this disc, a collection of live performances (without edits) from two separate nights during a 1992 tour of the States. Particularly of interest is the extended bass clarinet workout on "Because Patterns Two." On this track, one may notice as well the similarities between the playing of Bendian and that of another Brötzmann collaborator (and FMP co-founder), Han Bennink. The next track, "The March Burst to Open Blue," begins with a sharp tenor burst and then dives into an example of Brötzmann's bluesy, Ayler-esque side. To be sure, Brötzmann does not employ the wide vibrato of Ayler, but the listener will notice a number of other similarities with regard to the digging and scraping heard in the style of the elder. Regardless, it gives way rather quickly to a full-speed attack on all cylinders, during which Brötzmann is heard mostly in the upper register. As can be expected, Parker both serves as a steady anchor and contributes a series of inventive solo passages. This disc is an example of how an improvising trio can function like good friends in conversation with one another; each musician listens to the others tell their stories as well as telling his own.
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AllMusic Review by Brandon Burke