The Bishop's Move
Perhaps even more than most jazz musicians, tenor saxophonist Peter Brotzmann thrives or dives depending on the type and quality of his collaborators. For example, a band like his Chicago Tentet, which is packed with a couple too many crass noisemakers, dilutes his impact. I prefer the Brotzmann I hear on records like The Bishop's Move (Victo), a cooperative venture by the Evan Parker Trio and the Peter Brotzmann Trio. Recorded live at the 2003 Victoriaville Festival, the album consists of a single 73-minute improvisation by Brotzmann's group (with bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake) and tenor/soprano saxophonist Evan Parker's (with pianist Alex von Schlippenbach and drummer Paul Lytton). Each saxophonist seems to move somewhat in the direction of his opposite: Parker adds a little Ayler-ish madness to his hyperarticulate style, and Brotzmann's lines are more well-defined than they can be in other circumstances. The percussionists work great together, and von Schlippenbach is superb. William Parker shines as well. The performance is nicely varied, exciting and thoughtful-an excellent record all the way around. Brotzmann should play with guys this good all the time.