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Monday, October 9, 2023

Two from Kettle Hole Records

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Gerrit Hatcher - Solo Five (Kettle Hole, 2023)

The first, chronologically, is a solo outing from the tenor sax of Gerrit Hatcher, the saxophonist/improviser who runs the label. Recorded in the midst of the Covid dystopia, in May 2021, Solo Five seems to carry the burden of uncertain times (not that this has changed a lot now), with Hatcher’s tenor seemingly transcending thoughts and ideas of urgent matter.

His saxophone growls, cries, skronks and howls driven by an immediate need to express himself. Bursts of free jazz noise, Fire Music it was back in the day, like in the cathartic “Year Three” mark the presence of extraordinary events against our very nature as beings on this planet. In tracks like “Year Five”, the opening track of this, limited to three hundred copies, cd, the listener gets bewildered, in a good way, by the static sound of feedback by Hatcher’s sax. At times I caught myself wondering how this could be happening…

Solo Five takes the listener to a wild trip but never concedes to the easiness of noisy blow outs. Hatcher’s frustrated timbre and tone never fails, while I really enjoy his willingness to express himself without leaving room for hip experimentation. Raw and undistilled, it fills you with real emotions.

Listen and buy here: 


Near Miss –The Natural Regimen  (Kettle Hole, 2023)

Continuing from where Solo Five ends, the Near Miss trio consists of Hatcher on tenor again, Rob Magill on tenor and soprano sax, plus on bass clarinet and Bill Harris on the drums. Recorded a year later than Solo Five, it gives you the feeling that the moment Hatcher stopped recording his solo outing; the two musicians stepped in to continue.

The free jazz tradition is much more alive within the sounds made by the trio. The presence of free jazz’s first generation musicians of the early to mid sixties is there throughout its forty minutes duration. The three musicians leave more room for melody and texture to shape and take form. There are remnants of blues in the heavy sounds by Magill, while the duo attacks of the saxes leave you sweaty as they should…Sometimes Harris’ drums do stay at the end of the mix, making it quite clear that he was taking the hard way to follow the dual attack of the reeds. If a had to make an, always useless, comparison, I certainly felt that the solo cd is willing to trave more to uncharted territories, while the trio cd is a joyful free jazz affair. Both cd’s are great aesthetically with art by Gerrit Hatcher and Rob Magill.

For the trio cd listen and buy here: