Brodie West / Han Bennink Brodie West / Han Bennink

Anyone who's a Han Bennink fan knows that he's gonna "bring it" every time the tape starts rolling. However, his career is littered with performances where he is clearly enthused by the project at hand. His joyous exclamation midway through the second track of his duet with Toronto saxophonist Brodie West leaves no doubt that he's having a good time. This is a highly tuneful recording, engaging from the get-go. West combines a good deal of Ornette Coleman's ability to bend blue notes into spacey riffs with early Ayleresque fanfare-like statements with a dash of Willem Breuker's zany humour. Track four even seems to have some Lee Konitz in it; just laying back and playing snaky anti-bop lyricism. He's not one to play full-on energy solos to compete with what Bennink does, and as such, they frequently engage in deft call and response phrases with Bennink breaking into patterns for a few seconds at a time. If there is a drawback to these duets, it's that many of the tunes feature West holding back just prior to ending a tune, then firing off a parting shot, ending the track as if on cue. These positive resolutions seemed tacked on, belying other stylistic motivation at work in the songs. West likely has more to give in years to come, as his playing continues to evolve, but that doesn't diminish the fun of this record. (Secretariaat)