«Sound Moon Under» is already the fifth album of the duo of sax titan Peter Brötzmann and American pedal steel player Heather Leigh, released in the last three years. It is also the second hand-numbered, limited-edition (500 copies, numbered by Brötzmann, who did the artwork ), self-released album of this duo, following «Crowmoon» (2018) that documented a performance in Auckland, New Zealand from 2017. «Sound Moon Under» was recorded at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn on May 2019 when the duo of Brötzmann and Leigh was touring the USA to support the release of the epic «Sparrow Nights» (Trost, 2018).
The intimate, somehow melancholic spirit of «Sparrow Nights» sets the tone of this recording. Brötzmann begins the first, title piece with a typical, fierce tenor sax wail, but now this familiar wail does not attempts to express a call of the wild, dominant alpha male but of one who is fully aware of his vulnerability. Leigh cleverly embraces his wails with a minimalist, melodic theme, as if she caressing-reflecting Brötzmann’s urgent, painful cries. She leads this moving, emotional commotion into a cathartic release that emphasizes more the strong bond the two have developed in recent years. There are segments of this piece where Brötzmann sounds singing tenderly through his powerful cries.
Leigh leads the second, shorter piece «These Dark Waters» with highly resonant and distorted, atmospheric lines. When Brötzmann joins her he wisely gravitates her abstract flights into sober ground and engages her into a kind of intimate, naked dance where both bear their souls, radiating the sheer joy of having the opportunity to play together, close, one more time.
Heather Leigh (pedal steel g), Peter Brötzmann (ts, tarogato, b-flat cl)