Sonore No One Ever Works Alone

Mats Gustaffsson, Ken Vandermark and Peter Brötzmann knew each other well, before the fates brought them together inside of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet. Sure, they admired each other’s music and drew inspiration from one another (especially the younger two of the trio — Gustaffson and Vandermark — who paid their dues to Brötzmann, the elder statesman of the sax). The first reaction most people will have when learning of an all-wind trio (especially with these three gents) is what total chaos they will reap. Having listened to this record dozens of times now, I can tell you this is completely false. The trio is much more melodic than one is led to believe. Throughout most of the recording, you get a clear perception that certain passages were specifically written out, or at least agreed-on (or talked about previously). The beginning few minutes of "Blessed Assurance, Uninsured” is a good example. But don’t let this scare you. There is plenty of full-blown and fun improv here waiting for you to discover. Vandermark and Gustafsson duel off on their baritones, at least hoping they can outdo the master blower, and Brötzmann, who quite honestly, with his easily recognisable register and tone, puts the other two players in their place. Then again, that’s not Brötzmann’s role in this trio. (Even when blowing the hell out of his bass sax, he seems more at ease, more subdued, and certainly more willing to step out of the limelight in favour of the trio as a whole.) The case is that No One Ever Works Alone is a truly collaborative effort, where each member gets his five minutes at the podium. Having heard this trio play live inside of Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet was an absolute joy. Having missed their Toronto performance last year, I’ll never forgive myself. (Okkadisk)