Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
I Finally Caught Up To This
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 03/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded on 5/24/94 (and released in 1995, not '98), this was one of the first cds I bought after getting a computer. In reviewing this, I'll be refuting what was my longheld belief that I hated this cd. For almost 10 years I've occasionally (let's face it, I don't know too many people in real life who know of these guys) told people this cd stinks, and that Brotz is just a blowhard. I don't know where my head was at, all that time. I was initially disappointed in it, and from there on out I'd pop it in occasionally to give it a chance. A couple months ago, after at least 5 years of not listening to it at all, I popped it in and was blown away. It's as if the music I heard on this cd in january of '07 is not the same music encoded onto this plastic disc to which I listened all those years.
I don't know what I was thinking, or what (or HOW) I was missing. This is a work of utter passion and brilliance. Though Brotz isn't always on tenor saxophone here (also on tarogato, alto saxophone and e-flat clarinet), this is the sort of cd that I imagine will always be widely thought of in the same "sax and drums" mold as Interstellar Space. And will probably always be considered to be less than Interstellar Space, which is a darn shame, and also incorrect. This album is darker, more strange, lighter, more hypnotic, and certainly more dynamic than Interstellar Space.
Brotz can blow your windows out, but here he is also quite often in a lonely, plaintive mood that will make you think "this is what Sonny Rollins wished he could have expressed on that bridge all those years ago". His tonal command is incredible. He has this machine-like, mechanical burn-tone that I bet Duke Ellington would have loved. When I say machine-like, I don't mean that in a cold or clinical/sterile way at all. I mean (and I don't even know why I feel this) his playing really makes me aware of these instruments being, essentially, machines through which music is created. Unlike a player like Mats Gustafsson where (in my favorite passages) you tend to think of Mats as a cornered, wounded animal... visceral violence music... Brotzmann's playing gives one the feeling that if something is wrong with his saxophone, he's going to fix it with a hammer, like a World War 1 soldier.
For as much as he's just thought to be an energy player... a free-jazz Scorched Earth Policy player, Brotz is really straight out of the 1930s and '40s (not that I'm stupid and think WW1 was in the '30s or '40s).
Hamid is one of my favorite drummers of all time, though on this album I really feel Brotzmann steals the show. He doesn't play notes so much as he bends air into shape and feeling. I can't say it enough... I don't know how this cd didn't blow my mind 10 years ago. For comparison, and the more Hamid-ruled side of things Brotzmann-related, try their Never Too Late But Always Too Early double live album with William Parker, though Dried Rat-Dog is better recorded.
1 last thing... why buy this cd used here from another seller for $27 when you can get it new, straight from the Okka Disk site for $13? It's still in print/available, I just checked."
John C. Graham | toronto, ontario Canada | 11/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brotzmann is in great form here. His musical partner, Hamid Drake, is at his muscular best as well. It's an extremely well recorded studio session-Sparrow Sound Design-from 1994. Brotzmann plays tarogato, e-flat clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones while Hamid Drake tackles the frame drum, tablas, and drums. The disc consists of six compositions by Brotzmann and Drake with a playing time of close to 65 minutes.
There are many quieter moments on the disc when the players are gently exploring space and shifting rhythms. The music slowly opens up to reveal sensitivities not usually associated with Brotzmann. All the while, Hamid Drake, who is just a marvel of inventiveness and master of time-(the man never misses a beat...he could go on lunch break for an hour, sit back at the kit, and pick up the groove like he never left)-lays down patterns of percussive embellishment that enhance the unfolding audio drama. There are, of course, moments of gritty, flamethrower intensity from Brotzmann, particularly when he's playing the tenor....and through all the harshness there is ample sonorous beauty.
There is much to recommend here. Both players work well together. There is a history between them and the music found on the disc reflects that familiarity. Other player's contributions would have been superfluous in this situation. Drake and Brotzmann have together created an enthrawling and entirely enjoyable set of music...and the recording engineer captured it magnificently. The Dried Rat-Dog is a keeper.