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Improv 04

Bedouin Hornbook

Rich West

pfMentum CD 016



Chris Heenan- bass clarinet

Bruce Friedman- trumpet

Jeremy Drake- elec. gtr.

Scot Ray- tuba

Rich West- drums


Like nothing I’ve ever heard before from free jazz players: that’s what the first parts sound like. Considering how some free jazz-related material can tend toward sameness, that’s saying something. Cut three (“Twang”), however, conjures up something very different: Australian aborigine dijeridoo players playing along with Tibetan monks who are doing low register vocal drones (it works very well). It’s astonishing that the folks here can get these sounds out of the above-listed instruments. This track transitions nicely into a spirited romp and that somehow works, too. I wished for even more of the drone mode; it was a truly amazing groove. This group has a talent for consistently making very unexpected sounds from conventional instruments. I wish they’d showed even more of that here, but to do as much as they have is remarkable.  They sound a little like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, only contorted. Usually this works (as on “Furcifer”), less often not. If the Art Ensemble is once removed from the jazz mainstream, these folks are twice removed. So to call them jazz at all is iffy. And they deserve kudus (or horned bucks) for getting all that right.



P.O. Box 1653
Ventura, Calif.



Richard Grooms