Tammen Harth Dahlgren Rosen – Expedition (Live at the Knitting Factory)

Recorded at the high temple of experimental jazz back in 2001, you don’t even need to open this issue from ESP – Disk to know this is going to be challenging stuff

When I hear the phrase ‘jazz guitar’ I normally reach for my pillow, so the harsh, rocked out, crazed sounds of what Hans Tammen calls ‘endangered guitar’ hit a chord with me (as well as the often vocal live audience for these tracks). Take ‘A Place That Has Emotional Significance’ for instance, this Hendrixian, bluesy experimentation climbs heights and descends into hellish depths of police siren like wailing (honestly, that is what sirens sound like in England). But it is only when the tenor sax comes in that it becomes clear that the shock of Tammen’s sheets of sound derives not from their abstraction, but because so few guitarists have absorbed the work of the later Coltrane.
Track titles like ‘Setting Out With Aggressive Intent’ or ‘Retained Notions Of Speed And Purpose’ seem to have been plucked from the random text many spam emails employ to circumvent spam filters and I think to some extent you could say that all the sounds on this album share the same goal of getting past the listeners usual filtering mechanisms demanding of you an emotional response — if not equal to — at least appropriate to the passion of these musicians as they push and push and push themselves.
This is not however, an unending thrash. Tammen Harth Dahlgren Rosen leave space between ideas and explore different sounds and combinations in such a way that the listener can move through the music rather than just suffer its relentless assault.
Highly recommended for those who are a little out there or headed in that direction.

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