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Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang: The Damage Is Done

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Recorded live at the Alchemia Club in Krakow, Poland, The Damage Is Done holds two uncut sets from four heavy-hitting improvisers: trumpeter and reedist Joe McPhee, multi-reedist Peter Brötzmann, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Michael Zerang. Working as a quartet since 2004, this nameless group grew out of Brötzmann’s Tentet, which consists largely of Chicago-based musicians and sometimes includes Swedes. In either ensemble, McPhee is the single musician from Poughkeepsie, NY; Brötzmann, the only German. The Damage Is Done is the quartet’s third album.

Most of the applause from this two disc issue has been mastered out; only hints of it remain. Each disc has a distinct character. On the first, Brötzmann melts open the thirty-minute title cut; Zerang pumps up the tempo to bring in McPhee on pocket trumpet. Underlying the explosion of energy, detonated by Brötzmann, is the pizzicato of the bass. The lines remain remarkably distinguishable even when they converge into such a large sound that it could be mistaken for cacophonic chaos.

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