The second release by this powerhouse lineup is a portion of a live performance at the Festival de Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Canada. The single piece, by Brotzmann, is a kind of suite with several clearly delineated blocks that shows off several aspects of the band's character. It begins with screaming horns, subsides into a luscious bass duo (Kessler plucking, Parker arco), and reaches an initial climax midway through with a ferocious horn barrage reminiscent of Brotzmann's classic Machine Gun. Kondo's electronically enhanced trumpet splinters shards through some rich, basso roaring by the reeds in one of the high points of the disc. As things quiet down, the trumpeter continues in a loving homage to Miles Davis, only to have the rhythm section kick things once more into high gear, laying near-funky grooves for Vandermark to soar over. The bassists take matters out gently with a delicate, beautiful bowed duet. Brotzmann's hand-picked cadre of some of the finest young players from the Chicago improvising scene was one of the finest mid-size jazz bands of the late '90s. While this release doesn't show nearly the range of the first release (the self-titled, three-disc set also on Okkadisk), it's an excellent entry point into their music. The shortness of the recording is the only possible complaint. Highly recommended.
Share this page