brennan recorded with a quartet edition of sonic openings
under pressure in the Spirit Room in February, ‘04.
As the new face on the drum is honor enough, trombonist Steve
Swell immerses himself between the bass and drum pairing of
Hill Greene and Newman Taylor Baker, adding appropriate orchestral
color to brennan’s characteristically sophisticated
compositions - and even more sophisticated arrangements -
along with the complicated idioms that brennan appears to
have laid within the compositions themselves.
from some preparatory trial-and-error and brainstorming, the
quartet springs through four compositions, followed by the
even more ambitious permeations gumvindaboloo. Brennan interweaves
the solo sequences with unisons and opposing horn dialogs.
The way the lines fall, at first seem to be typical of a drummer’s
handling, but in the end, the metagroove is his trump card.
the horns maneuver deliberately angular rhythmic stacatti
and obstinato figures. The horns draw their extemporizations
to a jagged, serrated mountain horizon (drums not bombs,
political allusions aside). For brennan, Monk seems to stand
as highly for him as Elvin Jones, West African Rhythms and
Late Medieval composers.
slow blues (hot red) fascinates with its murky gray
on gray coloration. Dun dun beats and monochromatic sustained
tomes mark the discordant prelude to shadow doing,
which, after some bracing horn attacks, continues freely.
The 18 minute rough hue seamlessly joins affable
wind interplay, a minimalist bass solo and a mechanical, “un-round”
drum pattern over which brennan and swell unreservedly strike
gumvindaboloo suite expands over an Indian marching
band motif with a conceivably non-jazz drum part as engine.
Brennan’s sophistication makes for fun with its warping
of time and the crisscrossing capers of the horns. If only
all crooked dogs has so much character, and so much humor.