FAME Review: Phil Markowitz / Zach Brock Quartet - Perpetuity
Phil Markowitz / Zach Brock Quartet - Perpetuity


Phil Markowitz / Zach Brock Quartet

Dot Time Records - DT9031

Available from Dot Time Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

No one's gonna fault you, dear reader, if you at first step back in puzzlement as the Phil Markowitz / Zach Brock Quartet's Perpetuity opens up, and you look around perplexed. Didja slip a Magma disc in the player by mistake? Sure sounds like it, but, no, not at all, not at all. The opening chant (gratis percussionist Edson 'Cafe' da Silva) is not, as far as I can tell, sung in Kobaian, and the violin isn't manned by Didier Lockwood, though you might well think it (moreover, Triple Dutch brings out one side of a David Cross-ish [King Crimson] essence, Nebulae another). And that Obed Calvaire guy on drums? Yeah, he too sounds like an exeunt from Magma, Univers Zero, or similar: grrrrrrrreat trapswork! So, no, your deer-caught-in-headlights bit of stunmazement is perfectly appropriate. I experienced it too.

This is a MoonJune caliber CD that'll have you drooling from start to finish. I was expecting a bit of Miles-y stuff, but Perpetuity goes over the top, straight to first-water progfusion. Markowitz's keys are energetic and hard-charging throughout, when not elegant and balladic (you can almost caress the velvet brocade in the aforementioned Nebulae), he most decidedly a vet of the international jazz sphere, starting with Chet Baker's band in '79 and expanding outwards, versatile in whatever's before him. Zach Brock's a young string rasper destined for great things where'er he should decide to go musically, sporting an élan and competence taken not only early on from classical influences but also a participation in vocal choral work…and then there was the family band! Music was never not in his stars.

'Member how cool it was when Stanley Clarke's Vertu ensemble came out with, sadly, their only CD? "Finally!", we all thought, "some serious violin in le fashione moderne!" Well, this CD is twice that and then some (Brock's even played with Stanley), and if the beautiful chaos of Triple Dutch doesn't send you into delirium tremens, then you just haven't ever had your world rocked properly, peoples. The ensemble crashes through walls and worm holes, pure screaming primal creativity warping the joint up hallucinatorily, imaginative and imposing as hell. I was gasping by the time it led into Fractures and immediately harked back to Trilok Gurtu's A-I-A, an old ECM song nowhere near as juggernaut as Triple Dutch but highly Crimsonesque, ingenious, and the sort of thing that transfixes memory.

Jay Anderson handles the acoustic bass (the estimable Lincoln Goines replacing him on electric on one track), and cuts like Burning Lake give the guy a clear voice so you understand what's going on in the background much better. The band's 'quartet' sobriquet isn't quite on track, though: they actually play in quartet, quintet, and duet, which of course varies the overall sound quite nicely. No matter how you assess and equate things, though, this is one top-notch sharpshooter ensemble, and I hope to Hell they remain together. Work of this high an intellectual caliber forever struggles against the waning of the American IQ, so light, if you will, a candle or fireworks or a Republican in the hope that, against all reason and history, The New Renaissance crashes in on us very soon and safeguards our mental shores from the depredations and malaises we're all too familiar with.

Track List:

  • Perpetuity (Phil Markowitz)
  • Triple Dutch (Zach Brock)
  • Fractures (Zach Brock)
  • Six Pack (Phil Markowitz)
  • Nebulae (Phil Markowitz)
  • Notorious "Z" (Phil Markowitz)
  • Burning Lake (Zach Brock)
  • Rongtone (Zach Brock)
  • Mirrors (Phil Markowitz)
  • Ankle Biter (Zach Brock)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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