Patricia Brennan: More Touch

Electronically processed vibes and percussion conjoin in a fusion of harmonically abstracted modern jazz and Latin rhythm

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Ms Brennan performs with a percussion-focused quartet featuring vibes, marimba, percussion, bass and drums. She says the music reflects a mix of Afro-Cuban and Mexican folklore. She describes it as an inner search, “backwards to my roots and forwards into my future”.

All the compositions are hers and she plays vibes or marimba throughout; however, it’s hard to tell which is which as the instruments are electronically amplified. Mostly Ms Brennan takes the lead but other members of the group, including the drummer, occasionally take the spotlight.

The 10 tracks are all exercises in four-way improvisation with brief composed sections. This rather exotic music is probably for enthusiasts of rhythm instruments working primarily as soloists although when, for example, the double bass is the leading voice, the other instruments provide rhythmic counterpoint all through.

More Touch is notable for a snaking, fast-moving bass solo with esoteric backing from the other instrumentalists. Ms Brennan says Sizigia draws from the alignment of three or more celestial bodies. Some tracks feature a wailing or moaning sound from vibes (or marimba) and spiky percussion in the background.

Space For Hour is the quietest and most reflective track on offer. Individual contributions, notably those by Cass on bass and Gilmore on drums are fascinating and the leader occasionally hits an impressive layer of improvised solo work. In the main though this is an extended programme of repetitive rhythmic exercises with little in the way of melodic or harmonic subtlety. If you love vibes with plenty of percussion though, go for it.

Discography
Unquiet Respect; More Touch; Space For Hour; El Nahualli: The Woman Who Weeps; Square Bimagic; Convergences; Robbin; Sizigia (Syzygy); And There Was Light (71.12)
Patricia Brennan (vib, mar); Marcus Gilmore (d); Mauricio Herrera (pc); Kim Cass (b). NYC, 31 March & 1 April 2022.
Pyroclastic PR 22