By Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
PEK SOLO - For Alto (For Anthony Braxton)(Evil Clown 9258; USA) Featuring PEK on alto sax, tenor & bass ocarinas (potato flutes). In 1968, at the beginning of his long career, Delmark Records released Anthony Braxton’s ‘For Alto’, a two LP set of solo alto sax improvisations. It was a brave move for Mr. Braxton and the Delmark label to do since know one had ever released an album of solo sax music. It was widely disparaged by the press as well as by established musicians like bebop giant, Phil Woods. Many thought it was an indulgent effort, not really jazz of creative music at all. Now, more than a half century later, it shows some bravery and a look at the future of jazz in general or Creative Music more specifically. Multi-reeds player and multi-instrumentalist, PEK, has decided to do a tribute to Mr. Braxton’s early solo effort with his own (mostly) solo alto offering. The only other instruments used are two ocarinas, usually thought of as toy instruments that some of us played as a child.
This disc begins with some solo ocarina with some delay added. PEK soon picks up his sax and starts slowly, playing long notes and bending them slightly, also using some reverb to add some depth to the sound of the lone sax. PEK takes his time and plays slowly at first, concentrating on his note bending abilities as he goes. I am reminded more of the last solo sax concert & CD by Mr. Braxton recorded at the 2017 FIMAV Fest Victoriaville, Quebec. Mr. Braxton also sounded more mature, older and more thoughtful in his playing. PEK’s playing here sounds equally reflective, thoughtful and with less fireworks than usual. PEK lets things build, eventually erupting, bending & twisting those notes to near breaking point. There appears to be a good balance here of the extremes, building to free frenetics and then coming back down to the planet Earth. All of PEK’s previous 100+ discs feature as many instruments as he can play in one session but not this one. This is his lone (mostly) solo alto effort and it is a strong yet modest gem.
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
PEK Solo - For Alto (for Anthony Braxton)
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
17 October 2020
Review Excerpt By Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
"... PEKs playing here sounds equally reflective, thoughtful and with less fireworks than usual. Pek lets things build, eventually erupting, bending & twisting those notes to near breaking point. There appears to be a good balance here of the extremes, building to free frenetics and then coming back down to the planet Earth..."
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff