Ada Trio (brotzmann / Lonberg-holm / Nilssen-love)

The chemistry that existed between Peter Brotzmann, Fred Lonberg–Holm, and Paal Nilssen–Love, the world’s greatest saxophonist, cellist, and drummer, was so strong, that they decided to create a separate existence. The saxophonist had already engaged the younger men in duos before, as captured by Smalltown Superjazz On Wood Cuts (2010) and Sweetsweat (2007 in the case of Norwegian), but it was only on the 2011 Chicago Tentet tour where the trio first came together. The hors-d’oeuvre was provided by different subgroups of the larger group each night. The band’s name was given to the band by Ada (Trost), which was quickly released from Cafe Ada in Brotzmann’s hometown of Wuppertal. The group spent two days at Cafe Oto in north London as they neared the end of their 10-date European tour. Brotzmann makes a capital appearance every time, and it is always a packed house. This evening, despite it being Monday night, was not a slow one. Cafe Oto was packed, with a mostly young crowd who weren’t expecting sweetness and light. It was just as well, because the Ada Trio was one of Brotzmann’s most aggressive combinations. That’s quite an accomplishment. He has one of Europe’s most dynamic percussionists in Nilssen Love. The Scandinavian was a true powerhouse in precise articulation and speed. He is also capable of expressive tone color manipulation. Although Lonberg-Holm might be tempted to think of classical chamber settings when he sees his cello, this notion was quickly dispelled by the semicircle effect pedals placed at his feet. The Chicagoan actually had an electric guitar, which was more representative of his preferred sound territory. Brotzmann was a force of nature and easily identifiable with a single clarion blast. His distinctive braying growl easily pierced any unrelenting wall of tattoos and amplified cello. His yelping vibrato and buzz saw vibrato lit proceedings, even though they were hidden behind the Cafe Oto lighting. Lonberg-Holm used a combination of ear-shredding Bowing and fizzing Morse Code electronics to create a layering effect that allowed the reedman to play a slow, keening line on alto Saxophone. This proved to be a popular tactic. Brotzmann’s clarinet sound was more like a bagpipe, with his penetrating overtones reminiscent of bagpipes. He accompanied an Nilssen-Love percussion avalanche, and he skirled furiously. There were moments of calmer, more reflective music that evoked a sudden ray of light piercing the darkness. Brotzmann showed a tender, world-weary, lyricism in many of his duets with one or another of his partners. These interludes almost always grew in intensity and density until they reached a pitch that was screaming high. They explored every possible combination of the trio over a forty minute period. Each one evolved naturally from the previous, and in a masterful presentation built around the polarity light and shade, tension, and release. The uncompromising nature of the food was not lost on the crowd, who remained riveted. Lonberg-Holm strummed his electric guitar to add a frenetic white noise to the intense drumming. Brotzmann reached a crescendo again on alto saxophone, almost levating, and then he leapt upwards. The abrupt end was signaled by Brotzmann’s return to Earth. This tactic was perfected with the Chicago Tentet and created a wonderful conclusion. The band was greeted with a long standing ovation, before finally giving in to the request for an encore. They couldn’t add anything more after having already said everything. From allaboutjazz

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