Eyal Hareuveni reviews “Croon”

Eyal Hareuveni reviews Brad Henkel’s solo album, “Croon” in Salt Peanuts *

American, Berlin-based experimental trumpeter Brad Henkel’s primary focus is on improvisation, using a broad color palette of pitched and unpitched sounds. He creates music that is rooted in modern jazz, contemporary classical, and reductionist Echtzeitmusik traditions. Croon is his debut solo album, recorded at Blackbird Music Studio in Berlin in December 2021, and presents his explorative and idiosyncratic language as well as his unique take on the trumpet and inventiveness as an improviser.

The eight pieces are an eclectic and often even eccentric collection of acoustic trumpet textures, but a few pieces sound as borrowing the syntax and timbres of electronic and noise music. Obviously, Henkel has cultivated over the years by refining an array of extended techniques and personal approaches to the instrument. His imaginative sonic vision allows him to transform the trumpet into an instrument that makes sounds that express breathing and not only a musical instrument to make sounds with breathing, using the observation of the great, late Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo. But Henkel also plays free-associative, lyrical melodies as in the title piece, stressing his jazz background, producing a series of meditative multiphonics in the drone «Chant» and investing a twisted folk song in «Mope».