The Wild Mans Band — Fredensborg (Ninth World, 2015)
Aquarius Records was a treasure of the Mission District, a home for the freakish, the experimental, the noisy, and the obscure, but its jazz section was rather thin. When I saw a CD with Peter Brotzmann’s name on it, I took the dive.
I figured The Wild Mans Band (Ninth World, 1998) to be a one-off, with three Peters — Peter Brotzmann (clarinet/sax), Peter Friis Nielsen (bass), and and Peter Ole Jørgensen (drums) — joined by Johannes Bauer (trombone). Turns out, it’s been an ongoing series of albums on the Danish label Ninth World Music, with the core trio joined by a different guest each time. The latest installment, Fredensborg, adds saxophonist Mikolaj Trazaska to the three Peters.
The 25-minute “Cranberry Trail” is a terrific extended piece, opening the album with the long-burst energy blast that you’d hope for. Brotzmann and Trazaska trade barbs while the rhythm section keeps the kettle percolating. I love the slower middle segment, where Nielsen’s amped-up bass bubbles up. It’s a great sound against Brotzmann’s raspy long tones, and then Trazaska comes in on the high register to flesh out the picture. Great passage.
“Black Orb Riders” is a moderately paced workout that’s less of a blur, opening more room to hear Nielsen’s dense bass work, and “Mount Mush-Room” ends the album with an exhilarating sprint.
But I want to point out “Spiders of Time,” which features a placid flute-bass duet contrasted by abrasive shrieks from Brotzmann. It’s funny, but Brotzmann eventually merges into the more placid mood. Unsetting drumming by Jørgensen preserves a bit of an edge, giving Brotzmann an opening to rebuild the aggressive mood from a darker angle that fits more organically — in other words, they move from a place of contrast into a cohesive mood and a satisfying piece.