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CD version. Peter Brötzmann and Swedish drummer Peeter Uuskyla, a veteran of saxophonist Bengt Nordström’s groups, first recorded together in 1999 with bassist Peter Friis Nielsen, and have since met numerous times in trio and duo settings. Previous to A Crack to Beauty was a 2LP set: Red Cloud on Silver, on the young Swedish label Omlott, which has also released Uuskyla’s solo music as well as reissuing part of their previous duo disc, Born Broke, as a single LP titled Dead and Useless. Uuskyla is an incredibly limber drummer, economical and swinging in constant funky inversions that ratchet the saxophonist towards a jittery stratosphere. That’s not to say that Uuskyla can’t embrace the calm, metallic ache that pervades Brötzmann’s music, matching bitter pathos with brushy piles and accented silence. On the second movement of the title piece, unaccompanied tenor – the theme for Fred Hopkins that Brötzmann often references – appears midway through, before Uuskyla answers with darting rollicks. It’s a plaintive respite amid sheer, rolling, grooving sound. Brötzmann’s largesse is given a thick, expertly carved pathway here, and though he’s found numerous long-term drummer partners over the decades, each bringing something different to the whole, this particular pairing is one that I find extremely rewarding.