Album Review

Brotzmann, Peter / Nilssen-love, Paal – “Woodcuts” – [Smalltown Superjazzz]

Thurston Hunger   11/1/2013   CD, Jazz

Norwegian Woodcuts (well, recorded in Oslo during 2008), burnished by the
smoldering sax/reeds of Mr Brotzmann. At 72, he’s one dragon with plenty
of fire in the belly. While this album features plenty of ear-immolating
work, I found in frequently tuneful. Dig the middle-eastern clarinet
dreaming of a shenai to open “Glasgow Kiss” before it pushes the upper
reaches that fly like a bird through gunfire. Does “Ye Gods and Little
Fishes” end with an Ayler quote, or some kind of spiritual aire while
Nilssen-Love rolls the toms. The two longer pieces, the title and “Rode
Hard And Put Up Wet” both share a drum snare click and then right into
furnace. The latter closes with a wistful recollection of “Song for
Che.” “Knucklin” features the most tonal blitzing from Brotzmann,
eventually leading to soft, sick duck call near sly silence. “Strong
and Thin” hit me right between the ears, (did I hear Korean gongs?)
Through-out I found myself wanting Nilssen-Love at the ready when I
have to face a firing line and they need a drum roll while I’m
finishing that last cigarette. Bang!

-Thurston Hunger

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