The Wild Mans Band

The Wild Mans Band

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Recorded in Copenhagen in 1997, this quartet is truly a group of wild men. The three Peters on reeds, bass, and drums, respectively, and trombonist Johannes Bauer create a new European improvisation music that is full of humor, rage, abstraction, and even perversion. Playing through a brief introduction of sequence variations, the disc really opens with "Nymphalis Antipoa," a six-minute tonal study that features Bauer exploring the nether regions of his instrument while Brötzmann plays through a restrained dark melody before giving way to a fragmental bass solo by Jørgensen on electric bass. Nothing rises above a whisper and no statement is played for more than a note or three on the way to tonal equity. This is short-lived, however, as the entire record explodes into a war-zone free for all on "Dead Man's Camp." This is the kind of music one would expect from this bunch and it never stops from here on out. Brötzmann is the gang leader and his wailing skeins of cascading scalar fury infect the rest of the band. Bauer answers his lines in a free kind of counterpoint and then extends the broken harmonic into a timbral circus. Friis Neilsen is the one who is most on his own though, as the short, clipped basslines give him little to go on except for the "texture" of rhythm. But on he goes, digging deep into his cymbals for ballast and pushing forth great heaving sighs of tom-tom thrumming atop the scattered rim shots that punctuate both saxophone and trombone. This is an exhaustive and exhausting exercise in free jazz tomfoolery of the best and wildest kind.

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