The Squid's Ear Magazine

Denzler, Bertrand: Tenor (Potlatch)

Three solo investigations in tonality, microtonality, and the physicality of the tenor saxophonist from European free and modern improviser Bertand Denzler.

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product information:

UPC: 3491570001325

Label: Potlatch
Catalog ID: P210
Squidco Product Code: 14171

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: France
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in Paris by Christophe Hauser on February 21st, 2010.


Bertrand Denzler-tenor saxophone

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In my limited experience with Denzler's work, I get the impression that, somewhere along the line, he made a decision to, while acknowledging what we might call post-Butcher saxophonics, not forgo the essential sound of the instrument, insisting on finding newness in the Coltrane and Ben Webster lineage insofar as tone is concerned (while leaving jazz as such by the wayside). Indeed, given the title of the disc, it's hard not to think back to Joe McPhee's early release of the same name, when Hat was still in a Hut and similar explorations were made, albeit firmly alluding to the jazz and blues tradition.

The three tracks here, in textural terms, sort of run from more traditional to less. The first, "Filters", concentrates on held, deep tones, fluttering just a bit at the beginning, in small, microtonal shifts, gradually becoming more guttural as the piece progresses, growing louder. This ferocity and grit necessarily connotes ties to free jazz but Denzler seems confident that these can be both nodded to and bypassed. It's a tricky business, to be sure, but to these ears, he pulls it off rather well, the listener able for the most part to concentrate on the pure sound and less on its referents.

"Signals" begins where the previous one left off but softens the attack, drifting into an area midway between a full tenor sound and breath tones. I'm reminded a little bit of early Roscoe Mitchell investigations; this isn't a negative point--I think Mitchell opened up areas that have yet to be fully explored and I'm glad to see Denzler, intentionally or otherwise, coming across a few. "Airtube" is just that, moving well into the area we've (unfortunately?) come to expect, all breath and key-pops. It's also, to these ears, the most successful piece in a structural sense, feeling less episodic and more architecturally sound, having a strong sense of individual components being integrated into a tensile framework."-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside

Artist Biographies

"Bertrand Denzler is a tenor saxophone player. He has played in Europe and Latin America both as a solo act and with musicians such as Xavier Charles, Peter Frils Nielsen, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Barry Guy, Ninh Lê Quan, Urs Leimgruber, Günter Müller, Bob Ostertag, Norbert Pfammatter, Hasse Poulsen, Mark Sanders, Mathieu Werchowski, and Otomo Yoshihide. He is a member of the groups Hubbub, Nanocluster, Laps, Denzler-Mariage, A3/1, and Chamaeleo Vulgaris. He has put out a number of compact discs on various labels." (

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Track Listing:

1. Filters 17:15

2. Signals 19:21

3. Airtube 11:49

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Free Improvisation

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