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Chris McGregor Brotherhood of Breath: Bremen to Bridgwater

When it comes to the music of late pianist Chris McGregor and his wildly enthusiastic, free-improvising big band, Brotherhood of Breath, fans will likely take anything they can get. McGregor’s band was an assemblage of players from the pianist’s native South Africa and Europe that, after disbanding following McGregor’s death in 1990, left us with only a handful of albums to enjoy-and good luck finding most of them. Recently, the Brotherhood has been brought to wider attention by the efforts of Cuneiform, which released a live, archival Brotherhood recording, Travelling Somewhere, in 2002, and brought forth a double-disc follow-up, Bremen to Bridgwater, early this year.

Collecting tunes from three performances dating from 1971 and 1975, Bremen to Bridgwater gives us a chance to hear three different versions of this superb band. And while it doesn’t deliver the consistency of Travelling Somewhere, it’s still full of worthy jams, and it’s an intriguing history lesson.

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