Monday, August 22, 2016

Borah Bergman / Peter Brötzmann / Frode Gjerstad - Left (2016) NOT TWO RECORDS


"Borah Bergman was my favorite pianist. One of the few pianists who can work with me at all."
Peter Brötzmann

"One of the greatest pianists of our time."
John Zorn 

"Borah Bergman is perhaps the most technically accomplished pianist in jazz -- and if he's not at the top, then he's certainly on a short list of two."
Chris Kelsey

Featuring Borah Bergman on piano, Peter Brotzmann on ten or sax, bass clarinet & taragato and Frode Gjerstad on alto sax. This set was recorded live at the Molde International Jazz Festival in Norway in July of 1996. When Borah Bergman passed in 2012, we lost one of the finest and most distinctive pianists to emerge from New York in the past century. Mr. Bergman has recorded duo CDs with both Mr. Brotzmann and Mr. Gjerstad in the past, as well as a couple of trios with Anthony Braxton or Andrew Cyrille.

Mr. Brotzmann erupts with his unique, clarion call tenor right from the first note. He is soon joined by Mr. Bergman’s explosive piano and later by Mr. Gerstad’s equally distinctive, bent-note cluster. The sound here is superb, the performance well-balanced and well-recorded. There are three long pieces here, each with the word “Left” in the title as in “Left Hand”. Mr. Bergman was well-known for his singular-style ambidextrous playing, even recording an entire album side of just his left hand at the piano. What makes this combination so intriguing is that Mr. Bergman is often balancing two separate lines or strategies with each hand as well as interacting with each saxist independently. This makes for some fascinating listening which requires some deep concentration as two strong forces shift between different poles. Both Mr. Brotzmann (on tenor or clarinet) and Mr. Gerstad are well-matched saxists. Sometimes Brotzmann slows down to carefully bend certain notes while Gjerstad speeds up, interjecting occasional streams of notes. I like that this session is not all, over-the-top bluster, there are a number of more stark moments which are filled with suspense and thoughtful ruminations. This is a colossal trio effort that had me at the edge of my seat throughout its 55 minute length.

(Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

1. Left hand 18:23
2. Left us 11:54
3. Left out 24:47

Borah Bergman: piano
Peter Brötzmann: tenor sax, clarinet and tarogato
Frode Gjerstad: alto sax

Recorded at Molde International Jazzfestival, July 17, 1996