(Al Maslakh)

Influential as it is, Peter Brötzmann’s sax tone is among the most inimitable instrumental voices ever. And when his emotional content meets the uselessness of a “technical proficiency” that’s right there anyway – this happens regularly in “Live in Beirut” – there’s the good chance of being testimonies to the birth of something special. Enter Michael Zerang’s mouth-watering performance, which couples magnificently with Brötzmann’s passionate tantrums and connected individualism in four duets chock full of scintillating musicianship. Zerang is not necessarily contrary to patterns or structures; in fact, he raises serious mayhem through steady (?) pulse and interactive percussive anatomy. He also plays a mean darbuka solo on the second track, with his comrade exploring the hidden significance of tarogato with subtle responsiveness. When the pair decides to shift that couple of gears, all hell comes loose – but even Satan and Lucifer are seen nodding their head in approval. A saxophonist throwing out a gut solitude that exploits fervour with incendiary purpose; a drummer who can match his opponent punch for punch, at the same time inviting him out for dinner while working his ass off in belly-dancing rhythmic variations. No wonder that, according to the liners, the Beirut audience responded enthusiastically to this set, which in my walkman-enhanced early morning wait at the train station provided the right set off to a nondescript day. This is explosive fuel for your yawning moments, the best rebellion to being submerged by football and “Dancing With The Stars” chit-chat. Fellow commuters be damned.


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