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Full Blast & Friends: Sketches and Ballads

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It sounds like a question the lads from Spinal Tap would have asked: “How do you get more full blast than full blast?” But the trio of multireedist and free-jazz icon Peter Brötzmann, electric bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmüller offers a deadly serious answer, doubling in size with the addition of Ken Vandermark on bari sax and clarinet, Thomas Heberer on trumpet and Dirk Rothbrust on percussion and timpani. As the players’ reputations suggest, this is a conglomeration able to conjure a carpet-bombing onslaught of sound, and it often does over the course of Wertmüller’s 38-minute composition. But the densely arranged piece offers a surprisingly wide variety of textures, albeit maintaining a chest-rattling force even in its sparest moments.

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