Sunday, November 24, 2019

Gerrit Hatcher – Burnt Pan Rolling Boil (Kettle Hole, 2019) ****½

By Tom Burris

Tenor saxophonist Gerrit Hatcher's latest solo recording – I believe it's his third solo document - is also the first title available from his new label, Kettle Hole. While he oversees a fairly prolific output, he's not into overkill. The CD's total time is under 30 minutes & it is limited to 300 numbered copies. Time is tight; copies are limited. Nothing is wasted. Economical and sharp. In that spirit (hopefully), let's investigate the tracks:

  1. Salt Dome 1 – Squall worthy of Trane-era Pharoah or Jooklo Duo's Virginia Genta roars out of the speakers without a warning. Hatcher is a short-phrase guy. Long, unbroken lines generally aren't a big part of his vocabulary, as he prefers to break up short phrases and rearrange them in different ways – and what he does here makes these overblown lines sound like exquisite shards of tone poetry. You could say they fall on the thoughtful and elegant side of the band saw. By the end of this 5-minute excursion, full round notes are jockeying for attention with the overtones. The result is a very engaging listen. Artful but sweaty.
  2. Salt Dome 2 – The intro consists of consecutive whole notes of E. Occasionally dipping into notes lower than E, the outcome seems to be the lower the note, the longer the line. The air blowing through the horn is often as loud as the notes. The track eventually moves into the upper-register, settling into a somber, even mournful elegy. Earthy and metallic.
  3. Salt Dome 3 – Kettle whistles squeal on the stove top. Geese honk angrily from poop-covered rocks. This track combines elements of the first two; diced short phrases alternate with flatlines. Medical and geographical, but not quite earthy.
  4. Cooking Fuel – Intense, but hooky. Hatcher's short lines here conjure up pop-song structures, making it now obvious that many of his chosen themes come wired this way. He doesn't develop them outward, but takes them inward – like a dog wanting to be alone with a new toy. He takes his prize and internalizes the joy of it, turning it every which way until he gets what he wants out of it. Then he emerges from the corner, eager to share. Naturally, we are listening the entire time.

Burnt Pan Rolling Boil successfully documents the only hardcore punk saxophonist on the planet jumping at the sun. Many repeated listening sessions recommended.

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