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(FMP CD 097)
Four years after the initial salvo, Die Like a Dog returned with this epic, two-part performance, captured in November 1997, during the 30th Total Music Meeting, at the Podewil, in Berlin. The group sounds completely in sync for the duration, stretching out in mammoth fashion for "Part 1," while demonstrating a remarkable ability to make quick dynamic shifts in the more concentrated "Part 2." (The next night's performance is captured on Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No. 2.)
"...the best work I've heard from any of Brötzmann's ensembles in five years. Kondo adapts the dark, smeary sound of Miles's better electric albums, like Agharta and Dark Magus, stripping off the funky grooves and running them through Brötzmann and Parker's sublimely muscular improvisational wringer."—Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
"Their mastery of total (and instant) music, and the excellent sound picture, ensures there are no tangled lines. The interaction of their tough melodic skeins, though fast and furious, often comes perilously close to elegance."—The Wire
"This quartet is exemplary."—Cadence
"Originally assembled five years ago to pay tribute to the free-improvising pioneer Albert Ayler, the quartet comes on loud, strong, soulful, and so focused it's almost scary. Every bracing sound combination and dynamic shift in these 45- and 22-minute spontaneous masterpieces is in natural order. Like the most impossible seeming Ayler, Coltrane, or Dolphy solo, each movement fuels the intensity of and builds logically into the next."—Jazziz
"This is not music for people wanting to hear some nice jazz, some hum-along-able standards; this is music for listeners who want to take a journey and are willing to let this quartet steer. The Die Like a Dog Quartet is not improvising for an audience, they are improvising because. Because that is how you find music. Little Birds Have Fast Hearts, No. 1 is a great example of why that is important."—All Music Guide
"The band makes great use of dynamics, particularly on the second part of the concert. This performance, a 22-minute Brötzmann piece, ranges from a raucous trumpet-and-tenor opening to a tender section of emotionally charged clarinet and pensive trumpet. There is also some lovely trio work between Kondo’s echo heavy trumpet and the rhythm section. Parker is a standout, from his hard-driving solo five minutes into the piece to his acerbic arco work in the final two-thirds of the composition. This concert, from the 1997 Total Music Meeting, presents a vivid picture of how complete a player Brötzmann has become. He balances his trademark take-no-prisoners brutality with a full sonic range that heightens his impact. As two of the strongest, most inventive players in free jazz, Parker and Drake are ideal bandmates for this stage of Brötzmann’s career. They challenge him constantly – not just to play hard, but to create room in his music for them."—CODA
Peter Brötzmann/Die Like A Dog Quartet
Peter Brötzmann: tarogato, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Toshinori Kondo: trumpet, electronics
William Parker: double bass
Hamid Drake: drums
Recorded live by Holger Scheuermann and Jost Gebers on November 7th and 8th, 1997, during the Total Music Meeting at the Podewil in Berlin.
Mixed and mastered by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Peter Brötzmann and Jost Gebers.
Booklet design/layout: Peter Brötzmann.
Photos: Dagmar Gebers and Tony Getsug.