BOOTS BROWN – Boots Brown


Can an improvisation “supergroup” sound so refined and, in a way, subdued? Not only the answer is a sonorous “yes”, but Boots Brown sketch the first lines of a virtual project that could even attempt to bridge two separate worlds through a kind of music that summarizes the issues of a probing instrumental freedom and the narrative structures of the most engaging moments of ECM’s production (we’re talking 70s and early 80s here). This is especially evident in the third track “Gaucho Volcano”, where the quartet of Johan Berthling (double bass), Magnus Broo (trumpet), Mats Gustafsson (alto, tenor & slide saxophone, electronics) and David Stackenäs (acoustic guitar, low budget electronics) is joined by Tomas Hallonsten’s grieving Hammond organ to reproduce atmospheres that are not far away from Terje Rypdal’s seminal albums (circa “Descendre”), with an emphatically higher vitamin content as far as the generation of impromptu ideas is concerned. Yet even silence and composure are weapons against useless etiquette, and both Broo and Gustafsson demonstrate their ability to insert segments of pensiveness and – why not – humour throughout the seven tracks of the CD. “Black industrial greasy” finds Stackenäs’ delicate arpeggios and Berthling’s sober contrapuntal lines as the backbone of repeated changes of scenario, Broo alternating Davisian nightmares and muted trumpet-based observations, Gustafsson introducing penetrating overtones and multiphonic disturbances, Stackenäs again treating the strings as yet another metallic chipmunk protesting for hunger. The trumpeter concludes the whole with intelligent phrasing along this extravagant background, a revelatory example of the unconventionality of this ensemble, shown over 40 minutes of decidedly palatable, at times truly excellent untainted inventions.


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