Ab Baars / Ig Henneman / Dave Burrell

June 19, 2017


Wig #25

By Ken Waxman

Having played together in many contexts for more than a quarter century, Dutch reedist Ab Baars and violist Ig Henneman are like draft horses, so long in harness that they can respond to each others’ motions before they even happen. Although this mixture of strained, sul tasto resilience from the fiddler and outpourings that range from the shrilly atonal snarled blares to mere breaths, depending on Baars’ use of clarinet, tenor saxophone or shakuhachi, would be distinctive in itself, they up the ante on Trandans by playing with veteran American pianist Dave Burrell, with whom neither had previously recorded

As meditative and whimsical in his hunt-and-peck narratives as the other two are penetrating, as demonstrated on his mostly solo musings on “Korsekebacken”, Burrel’s basso-directed fills are low key in both senses of the word. Yet as tracks such as “Fyllevägen” and Laggareno demonstrate, his unflappable keyboard command adds a certain formality when involved in counterpoint with the duo. Especially illustrative is “Laggareno”, since the harshness engendered by the fiddler’s tempered-blade volatility in broken octave concordance with altissimo reed shrieks, is warmed to a finer-tuned narrative via the pianist’s even tempered chording. On their own as captured on “Rassel runt Brunnen”, the two follow multphonic paths the way a grizzled guide uses trail markers. They’re never lost and are constantly interesting, since Baars’ crying split tones or lows from the tenor saxophone’s bottom notes help regularize the near-atonal exposition, even as Henneman bring her own spiny individualism to the tune.

-For The Whole Note June 2017