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Friday, July 4, 2008

Heath Watts & Dan Pell - Breathe If You Can (Leo Records, 2008) ***½

Fully improvised sax-drums duo by Heath Watts on soprano and Dan Pell on drums, also known as Grass Hair Duo. Both play a totally free, unbound feast of sound and percussion, influenced by many genres, ranging from tribal music to Coltrane and Lacy. Dan Pell is originally from Norway, and used to be called Haon Sregor, but he changed his name after moving to the US, where he learned percussion from a native American called Iron Cloud. Watts is from Philadelphia and is a powerful free player. His tone is raw, hard and heavy, certainly for a soprano, yet he manages to be very emotional and expressive. Don't expect structure, fixed melody or anything which could vaguely ressemble patterns or repetitive things : this is far from these musicians' thoughts and intentions. What you get is in-the-moment improvisation, sounds following sounds, all incredibly intense and direct, but still lyrical and melodious. Both musicians interact perfectly well and speak the same musical language.

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Watch a weird video of one of their performances (what's happening on this tape, what's happening to the cameraman?)

© stef


Heath Watts said...

Thanks for reviewing our CD. I appreciate it!