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Ears Are Filled With Wonder, the debut release from the duo of pedal steel player Heather Leigh and reedist Peter Brötzmann, blows the old adage about improvised music somehow not being best appreciated via the recordings to beautiful pieces. This is a music that demands re-visiting, that seems to alter, slightly, every time it is played, with new details emerging, new relationships of tone and style, new romance, even. Recorded during a mammoth stint in Kraków, Poland, where Brötzmann and Leigh played as part of big bands, trios, quartets, and duos, this duo performance represents the diamond heart of the sessions, an improvised set that bears little relation to what either of the players has achieved outside of its prodigious gravity. We mentioned romance and really Ears Are Filled With Wonder, a play on a line from the poet Kenneth Patchen, showcases the full reach of Brötzmann's rebel lyricism, his lover man style, now smoky, seductive, late night, now roaring and vibrating with energy. Leigh plays it extremely subtly, sometimes fixing on the most suggestive detail and from there spinning luscious webs of repeat-time bliss that make for some of the most psychedelic and otherworldly settings of strings and horn. Elsewhere the two of them tear the roof off with tactile fuzz and horn ascensions. It's a music of organic depth, of endlessly evocative unfolding, as themes bloom and sigh and disappear and arise and it feels curiously out of time, even as both players push their instruments into futuristic configurations. As such it doesn't sit neatly in either players' extensive catalogs. . . . Ears Are Filled With Wonder is a coming together of two of the most original voices on their respective instruments and the title reflects the joyful uncovering of a whole new way of listening and relating. Indeed, it might well be the first ever freely improvised electric pedal steel and saxophone duet ever put to tape. Either way it is one of the most startlingly beautiful combinations of players and temperaments to orbit the European jazz scene in years. And this is only the beginning. So hold tight." --Moshe Idel, Ronda, Spain, February 2016
Heather Leigh: pedal steel guitar. Peter Brötzmann: tenor saxophone, bass and B-flat clarinet, tárogató. Recorded November 8, 2015, in Kraków, Poland.