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Saturday, April 8, 2023

Brötzmann / Leigh / Lonberg-Holm - Brötz 80th at ADA 2021: Naked Nudes (Trost, 2023)

By Eyal Hareuveni

Peter Brötzmann often begins his live sets with a sax roar, marking that the unbeatable and uncompromising musician he is still calling the shots. But Naked Nudes, his sixth album with pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh and the first one to document this duo with another musician, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm (though this duo performed before with Keiji Haino and Toshinori Kondo), offers a more lyrical and reserved version of Brötzmann.

Naked Nudes was recorded at ADA cultural center in Brötzmann’s hometown Wuppertal as part of his three-night 80th birthday concerts in August 2021, after almost two years of inactivity and forced isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. Lonberg-Holm is a long-standing collaborator of Brötzmann and began to play with him in his Chicago Tentet, later in the ADA trio and he also recorded three duo albums with Brötzmann. The release of Naked Nudes coincides with Brötzmann’s 82nd birthday.

Brötzmann opens this live session with the 28-minute title piece, singing gently the theme and establishing intimate and almost chamber interplay with Leigh and Lonberg-Holm that stress the bluesy, mournful atmosphere of this naked theme. Slowly, the raw and distorted, effects-laden cello of Lonberg-Holm and the sustained-resonating lines of Leigh slowly push Brötzmann to the front, but he still opts for a tender and elegiac tone, yet clearly, an intense and powerful one, while meditating in his own special way on the emotional theme.

The following, shorter pieces “Flower Flaps” and “Johnny Anaconda” offer Brötzmann in his familiar, powerful mode. But now Brötzmann leaves more space for Leigh and Lonberg-Holm to create the intense dynamics and cuts their drone-like playing with sharp cries on “Flowe Flaps” or gentle balladic ideas on “Johnny Anaconda”.

Naked Nudes documents an unusual performance that still echoes the weight of the moment, and one that makes you wish that you were there with this great trio.


Anonymous said...

Long live Brötz.