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Published: 2001/12/19
by Pat Buzby

self-titled – The Bruknahm Project

Knitting Factory Works 296
This new project on Knitting Factory’s label is evidently a vehicle for the work of hip-hop/experimental producers Saundi Wilson and Sebastian "SibaGiba" Bardin. I say "evidently" because the liner notes offer little explanation for the sounds that emerge. However, they do indicate a significant amount of feeling behind this project. Two of the four dedicatees are AACM musicians Lester Bowie (best known as a member of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago) and Phillip Wilson (a drummer who worked with Bowie, Paul Butterfield and others of significance).
A sample of Bowie talking on Lester Left Town offers some food for thought, as he comments that ‘Jazz is not a type of music. It’s a concept, an attitude. A feeling of motion.’ In that case, perhaps this is jazz. The trouble is that, for this listener, it’s hard to derive very much feeling or motion from this set of sounds. Perhaps it’s a personal issue — for me, techno beats and repetitive samples have a way of driving feeling out of the room, although I suppose earlier jazz listeners and critics may have felt the same way about fusion’s Fender Rhodeses and rock drum patterns, or avant-jazz’s screaming saxophones and tempo-less drumming. However, without indulging in elitist bullshit, perhaps it’s best to say that this is another case where certain types of jazz don’t reach certain types of jazz listeners.
Wilson and SibaGiba offer medium-tempo, somewhat melancholy-sounding soundscapes for much of this disc’s 50 minutes. There’s not much foreground, aside from Alex Harding’s fun, rude baritone sax on Elitist Bullshit and a couple of undistinguished raps. Lester Left Town pulls at the heartstrings with its Lester-esque trumpet soloing, and some cuts such as Panama Canal work as a sort of minimalist tone painting (although what the Panama Canal has to do with anything is unknown to me).
Overall, though, I’m not quite wired right to hear this music at this point in time but perhaps you’d like to try it out.

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