Friday, July 26, 2013

Brötzmann : Hideout

Wednesday night I got over to The Hideout for Umbrella Music's Immediate Sound Series.

I was expecting a big turnout as the night's two sets were by the trio of Peter Brötzmann (as,ts, clar, táragató) Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone) Hamid Drake (drums, perc). 

Having missed Brötzmann's last appearance in Chicago (I was out of town) I decided to get there nice and early. I'm glad I did as it didn't take long for the house to fill. Great to see people getting out to hear improvised music - the biggest crowd I have seen at The Hideout. It's a nice venue, plenty of character, some nice beers, good sound and sight lines, and a cozy feel.
The first set had Brötzmann switching between alto sax, clarinet and táragató. For the second he was on tenor sax. While he far from my favorite saxophonist, Brötzmann is someone I have wanted to hear in person. At 72 years of age he is still blows up a sonic storm - an avalanche of sound that must make some want to cower in the corner. The music does ebb and flow but for the most part, energy levels remained high across the two sets. Just when you think he has reached breaking point somehow he pushes through the barrier. At times I felt this got a little predictable - climbing the ladder of high and loud - but fascinating nonetheless. There is an intent to the way he starts and finishes notes/sounds - an intense focus. While there is a definite physicality to his playing, there are times when he appears to be surprisingly relaxed while playing in a manner that would cause many other saxophonists to look as though they are about to explode (perhaps it's hidden by the facial hair?). I wonder if Adolphe Sax envisioned Brötzmann's approach when inventing this wonderfully flexible instrument 167 years ago?

Nice turnout at The Hidout
Adasiewicz's playing - particularly his work accompanying the horn - really stood out. A creative player well worth checking out if you haven't already. I have heard him a number of times around Chicago and he is often the stand out player. Of his recorded work I am only familiar with "Spacer" a fine album with his trio Sun Rooms. Adasiewicz and Drake locked in well together - a duo concert/album from these two would be great to hear.

The funk/soul/disco tracks playing before the set and during the break made quite a contrast to what everyone came to hear.

Brötzmann and Drake return to The Hideout next Wednesday when they will play with Ken Vandermark (reeds) and Chad Taylor (drums).
Brötzmann's latest artworks are in town too. Left / Right opens at Corbett vs Dempsey on Saturday 27 July and runs through to August 17.

Catalytic-Sound is the place to find many of  Brötzmann's recordings. 

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