Broetzmann / Adasiewicz / Edwards / Noble – MENTAL SHAKE

Our tenth OTOROKU release sees a return to the group that kick-started the label - the veteran German reedsman and free jazz pioneer Peter Broetzmann with the long-running London bass/drums partnership of John Edwards and Steve Noble. After the release of '…The Worse The Better' that group went on to play a series of devastating shows in Europe and to emerge as one of Broetzmann's finest working groups. Over the same period Peter was developing a deep rapport with Jason Adasiewicz, the upstart vibraphone player from Chicago. What seems on paper like an awkward pairing reveals itself on stage and on record as a symbiotic revelation. Adasiewicz's physical attack matching Broetzmann for impact whilst the extended sustain of the vibes opens up an eerie space for some of Broetzmann's most fertile lyricism.

The recording is from the last set of a two-day residency at Cafe OTO that brought these two groups together for an astonishing quartet. Adasiewicz and Noble struck up an immense partnership in rhythm. Edwards wrestled with a broken house bass and failing amplifier and still managed new levels of invention - stoking the others onwards. Broetzmann was clearly energised - I swear I saw him dancing at the side of the stage whilst exchanging a shattered reed. And for all the usual rhetoric of Free Jazz bluster and machismo, this is a meeting characterised by the joy of communal creation that makes you want to dance - even if only in your head.

Peter Broetzmann / alto and tenor sax, Bflat clarinet, Taragato

Jason Adasiewicz / vibraphone

John Edwards / double bass

Steve Noble / drums

Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 12 August 2013 by James Dunn. Mixed by Rupert Clervaux at Grays Inn Road. Mastered by Andreas [LUPO] Lubich at Calyx. Design by Brö/Untiet. Drawing by Brö. Photocollage (on sleeve reverse) by Dawid Laskowski


Format Information

180g LP -- Outersleeve: Full colour offset print on Hansaboard / Innersleeve: Generic OTOroku innersleeve (two pantone offset print on reverse double whiteboard / Single Colour black labels. 

CD -- Card sleeve, full colour offset print on greyboard.

DL -- Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC.

Peter Brötzmann

Peter Brötzmann is one of the most important and uncompromising figures in free jazz and has been at the forefront of developing a unique, European take on free improvisation since the 1960s. 

Brötzmann first trained as a painter and was associated with Fluxus (Participating in various events and working as an assistant to Nam Jun Paik) before dissatisfaction with the art world moved his focus towards music. However he continued to paint and his instantly recognisable visual sensibility has produced some of our favourite LP sleeves as well as a number of gallery shows in recent years. 

Self-taught on Clarinet and Saxophone, Brötzmann established himself as one of the most powerful and original players around, releasing a number of now highly sought after sides of musical invention including the epochal 'Machine Gun' session in 1968 - originally released on his own Brö private press and later recordings for FMP (Free Music Production) the label he started with Jost Gebers. Brötzmann's sound is "one of the most distinctive, life-affirming and joyous in all music" and he has performed with almost all of the major players of free music from early associations with Don Cherry and Steve Lacy to regular groupings with Peter Kowald, Alex Von Slippenbach, Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove, the Chicago Tentet (Mats Gustafsson/Joe McPhee/Ken Vandermark and more) and various one-off and ad hoc associations with many others including Keiji Haino, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Rashied Ali. 

John Edwards

John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Evan Parker, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.

"I think John Edwards is absolutely remarkable: there’s never been anything like him before, anywhere in jazz." - Richard Williams, The Blue Moment

Steve Noble

Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more. 

In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins). 

Jason Adasiewicz

'In those more or less basic musical realms, Jason Adasiewicz, at age 34, seems to me a young master. But let me mention two other closely related matters — dimensionality and timbre. Adasiewicz, of course, plays the vibraphone, and in the past he has emphasized what anyone can hear: “The vibraphone has become very physical for me. I hit the instrument very hard…. An aluminum bar feels like a brick wall, but you can get spring from the cord that is suspending each bar of the instrument. I’ve felt most comfortable with trying to get those bars to resonate to the point of distortion…. I have never put away the drums 

Thus the force with which one strikes the instrument’s bars becomes a crucial part of the musical mix, not unlike the blow with which a sculptor’s hammer strikes a chisel. In fact with the use of various means — the damper of course and, on the two solo pieces here, the backs of two violin bows — the results Adasiewicz gets can range from the imposingly gong-like to the dry and delicately skittering. 

And timbre? Well, as Adasiewicz said, those forcefully struck bars resonate to a fare-the-well, and, I would say, in a manner that is unique to the mallet percussion family — every note being at once somewhat dissonant (because so many overtones are rubbing against each other) and part of the mallet percussion family’s “rhyming” timbral vocabulary. Here then continual (even seemingly microtonal) gradations of shading can arise — space and shape, dimensionality and timbre, all bedded down and hard at work under the covers.' - Larry Kart