Full Blast & Friends

Sketches and Ballads

by John Garratt

20 March 2012

cover art

Full Blast & Friends

Sketches and Ballads

US: 6 Dec 2011
UK: 28 Nov 2011

Sketches and Ballads is only one 36-minute track, but there’s quite a lot packed into this “song.” And although most avant-garde fans out there consider Full Blast to be a Peter Brötzman-helmed project (I know I do), “Sketches and Ballads” was actually composed entirely by drummer Michael Wertmüller. Furthering the democratic process is the inclusion of “friends,” taking Full Blast from a trio to a one-off sextet.

This is a group that has always boasted a large sound for three people; after all, Brötzman’s nickname is “Superlungs.” But the addition of trumpeter Thomas Heberer, percussionist Dirk Rothbrust and restless multi-reedman Ken Vandermark just further galvanizes an already powerful band. And this is not some kind of Free Jazz-era Coleman behemot—this is a multi-movement composition flush with fluctuating tempo, dynamics and never ending tension. This is one of those albums that comes highly recommended, even though it’s clearly not for everyone.

Sketches and Ballads


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