Brötzmann, Drake & Parker at Constellation

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The Peter Br√∂tzmann, Hamid Drake & William Parker Trio played Friday night at Constellation ‚ÄĒ one of the first concerts this improvisational powerhouse has played together since 2004. And it was the first time I had ever seen Br√∂tzmann, a¬†German free-jazz saxophonist. After the band took the stage without uttering a word, and after the welcoming applause died down,¬†Br√∂tzmann paused at his table of reed instruments, as if wondering which one to play. Once he’d strapped a sax around his neck, he¬†silently stood a moment, poised to blow. It was so quiet that I expected the music to begin quietly, but¬†Br√∂tzmann did not ease us into things. He suddenly blurted out a cacophonous blast, pulling us into a complex string of notes in what seemed like midstream. That was just the beginning of a piece that stretched on for something like 40 minutes. Throughout the concert ‚ÄĒ which the trio performed without taking a set break ‚ÄĒ Drake’s percussion and Parker’s bass lines gracefully danced around¬†Br√∂tzmann’s forceful, inventive improvisations. It was bracing and dazzling.

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