"Last year we received a great disc from the quartet: Luc Ex/Ingrid Laubrock/Ab Baars/Hamid Drake called ‘Assemblee’. Around the same time another quartet emerged featuring two couples: Ig Henneman & Ab Baars (Netherlands-based) and Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey (NY-based). Ms. Hennenman plays viola, composes and runs the Wig label while Mr. Baars is a longtime member of the ICP Orchestra & leads several of his own bands. Ms. Laubrock is the current rising star saxist of the Downtown Scene, also leads several bands and is a truly fine ever-evolving composer. I caught Ms. Laubrock three nights in a row last week (early July, 2016) in the solo, duo & trio settings and was knocked by each performance. Mr. Rainey reigns as one of the finest & most distinctive drums in NY, his trio (with Ingrid & Mary Halvorson) is just incredible! This disc was recorded at the Tampere Jazz Happening (festival) in Finland in November of 2014 and the sound is superb. Since both couples have worked together in duos and larger settings for so long, we can hear the way they converse in a most engaging way, exchanging ideas, lines flowing back and forth throughout. There are sections when both Ms. Laubrock and Mr. Baars play some multiphonic high note interaction which is quite breathtaking. Ms. Laubrock has been playing more soprano sax in recent years and her playing is getting better & better. The interaction between her soprano sax and Ms. Henneman’s viola is especially riveting. There are a number of great viola players currently around (like Jessica Pavone & Charlotte Hug), however Ig Henneman remains one of the best. She is in especially fine form here, weaving her lines amongst the two spirited reeds and organic, distinctive drumming of Mr. Rainey. This is a most extraordinary quartet, one of the finest improvising units of the year. We can only hope that this fine quartet will find their way here in the near future. In the meantime, check this dynamite disc!" - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PERCH HEN BROCK & RAIN
Ab Baars (NL) - tenor, cl, shakuhachi
Ig Henneman (NL) - viola
Ingrid Laubrock (DE/USA)- tenorsax
Tom Rainey (USA) - drums
1: Perch (14:31)
2: Hen (9:47)
3: Brock (10:34)
4: Rain (13:40)
5: Tampere (4:50)
Perch Hen Brock & Rain is an improvising quartet drawing on myriad experiences and backgrounds; a unique combination of two long-time duos. In this ensemble, four of the most interesting improvisational artists of the New York City and Amsterdam jazz circles form a musical collaboration that seems to take on an almost telepathic quality, pulsing with passion, dedication, and versatility. The quartet came together for a first extensive European tour in November 2014.
(...) This intersection of the newer Dutch swing and post- Downtown New York sound evidences a newly refreshed improvised music. Not free jazz, nor exactly free improvisation, the five pieces make mannerly and urbane connections. It's difficult to define a leader for this quartet, maybe because so much is shared. "Brock" opens with Laubrock and Baars trading saxophone notes from the upper and lower registers until Rainey pushes the "go" button with his drumming. After a pause at the midway point, Henneman's viola signals a slower tempo and an abandonment of all aggression. She opens "Rain" with a high-wire performance that calls for the dancing sticks of Rainey, Baars' clarinet, and the bird-like calls of Laubrock's soprano saxophone. The music develops as a piece of chamber music albeit never abandoning the heated flames of improvisation.
Baars' shakuhachi playing is mystical on "Tampere" and "Hen," both pieces that gather momentum as improvised music, but coalesce as seemingly composed music. Such prestidigitation is evidence of music making at the highest levels.
--Mark Corroto **** allaboutjazz.com