Unlawful Noise

Haazz & Company

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Unlawful Noise Review

by William York

"Unlawful noise" is hardly an exaggeration in terms of describing this music: It is free jazz at its most brutal, intense, and unyielding. Over the album's two tracks, this six-piece group -- nominally led by little-known Dutch pianist Kees Hazovoet and rounded out by Peter Brötzmann (reeds), Peter Bennink (reeds, bagpipes), Han Bennink (reeds, percussion), Johnny Dyani (bass), and Louis Moholo (drums) -- goes at it full-throttle, with little reprieve and apparently not much of a predetermined structure. (It is hard to tell, though, since there are certain changes that make it seem like some sort of visual cue, at least, might have been involved.) The title piece begins with several minutes of piercing high-pitched clarinet wailing prior to the rhythm section entering; following this shell-shocked intro, things steadily build up to a dense mass of piano clusters, raging percussion, and combative horns before thinning out just as the tension threatens to become unbearable. The rest of the music continues in a like manner, rising up to incredibly intense peaks before dissolving and then ultimately building back up. There are no written melodic themes, few clearly defined solos, and little change in mood; in fact, it is questionable whether the second piece really adds anything that the first hasn't already said, although this doesn't seem to concern the players. Listeners can deal with this type of album either by turning off the stereo or by just submitting to the flood of noise, which -- when done with the type of skill and single-minded focus heard here -- can yield an almost trance-inducing effect, in spite of its harshness. (That said, there are a few plainly audible tape splices, seemingly done that way on purpose, which will probably snap listeners out of whatever trance they're in, at least momentarily.) It's not for all tastes, but for those who appreciate the full-scale ensemble blowouts of Cecil Taylor or Peter Brötzmann, this inspired -- if exhausting -- album does come recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Haazz & Company 28:07 Amazon
Haazz & Company 23:58 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick