January 16, 2019
Trost TR 176
Not surprisingly Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson wrote the booklet notes for this weighty slab of Avant-Punk-Jazz by a Moscow-based trio. That’s because if there’s any antecedent to the seven tracks created by alto saxophonist Anton Ponomarev, bass guitarist Dmitry Lapshin and drummer Yaroslav Kurilo it would be Gustafsson’s equally brawny trio The Thing.
Instructively enough though, while this 10-year-old aggregation smacks, screeches and sluices its timbres with a similar vitality as the Scandinavian trio of which Gustafsson is a key member, unlike The Thing, BROM also cryptically yet obviously expresses its links to the Jazz tradition. Exposing each tune’s initial head before detonating a mastication of the theme, the band members confirm that “Tuna” is actually a contrafact of “Night in Tunisia”, just as “Mingus 30° C” started life as “Boogie Stop Shuffle”. It’s a tribute to BROM that Ponomarev’s wide Aylerian blowing on the first tune and primitive, near-rockabilly-style reed-shredding on the second, coupled with swelling area Rock-like bass guitar pops, actually intersect enough with the initial composition’s theme to be logical in performance.
Other than that, the tunes evolve at a pace that link Metallica with the Messengers and eschews delicacy for determination. The saxophonist’s usual blueprint is upper-altissimo screaming with a multphonic output that resembles unhinged human cries mixed with the noise of a bank of telephones ringing. Kurlino’s feature on “Queue” starts off as if it was a direct cop from “Wipe Out” before cranking out counter rhythms that make the performance even swifter and more staccato. Lapshin’s amelodic motifs on that track are further magnified on “Hematoma”, where he attains a bravura mixture of thumping bass guitar accompaniment and bottleneck-like echoing lead guitar-like twangs. The result is a collective crescendo with reed fills providing the backing.
The antithesis of polite Chamber Jazz, this fiery Sunstroke should provide pleasure for those who prefer their Jazz (Rock) blistering without succor, no matter the temperature.
— Ken Waxman
Track Listing: 1. Plunge into an Ice Hole 2. Tuna 3. Sunstroke 4. Queue 5. Urtica 6. Hematoma 7. Mingus 30° C
Personnel: Anton Ponomarev (alto saxophone); Dmitry Lapshin (bass guitar) and Yaroslav Kurilo (drums)