How close can you get to a performing musician? That close. On V: Solo Improvisations, reedist Scott Rosenberg invites the listener to crawl inside his horn. Keys open and shut, breath circulates, spit intermingles with sound. The bass clarinet and the sopranino saxophone are not carefully crafted horns anymore: They have reverted to the state of resounding tubes. The line between sound produced with an artifact and internal body noises has been blurred. In each one of these 21 short improvisations (nothing over three minutes), the musician has become one with his instrument. The music he creates is human, animal, and instrumental altogether. His use of voice, mouth, and spit in the horn recreates some of the sounds that vocalists like Phil Minton and Paul Dutton have been developing using only their natural cranial cavities. But you can't listen to them from inside their head. Here, you will be convinced you are standing inside the horn, which is not necessarily a comfortable place to be, as this music oscillates between the funny and the disturbing. Rosenberg's esthetic is very similar to German trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, but the American eschews minimalism: His exuberant form of expression constantly questions the definition of music. His approach also contaminates the track titles: Intelligible words have devolved into troglodytic rumbling noises like "Thrrrurntttt (Grgrggrgr)" and "Hhbbhthbbbshhbh." Genius or madman? Essential or eccentric? You pick. One thing remains sure: V is definitely an original and surprising CD.
AllMusic Review by François Couture