This Full Mouth cs826









Senses of materiality, particularly themes of bodily materialism, animate another album I want to discuss this week: This Full Mouth, recorded in Berlin in March (& very soon to appear on Creative Sources...), seems to be something of a development for percussionist Ben Bennett, joining the father-son team of Ernesto & Guilherme Rodrigues in Europe for an ambitious trio outing. Bennett has largely been recording only within a narrow group, i.e. Jack Wright & the other "family" musicians from Rawl (per the review here in February...), along with US sax player Michael Foster (himself last appearing here with the quartet album Glow, reviewed January 2023...), so meeting these Lisbon musicians in Berlin seems to be another step. (This is after Bennett had already released Petrichor on Creative Sources, but from within his usual musical cohort, as reviewed here in November 2021....) And of course the Rodrigueses are fixtures in this space, including for their trios with various "guests," the two most recent being Con versa tions (recorded back in 2021 with fiddler Gerhard Uebele, and more tonal per se than most of their sets...) & Live at Sonic Krause (a "digital only" release with electric guitarist Hannes Buder, previously unknown to me), while the two prior were Secrets under Trees (reviewed November 2023) & L'âge de l'oreille (reviewed May 2023) — and of course there're various classics, e.g. RRR (reviewed August 2018) to mention Olaf Rupp again.... (And the two did finally release a duo album too, Intenso como o Mar recorded in Lisbon this past December, featuring a poem by Ernesto....) In any case, the release with Bennett comes as something of a surprise, but also as an opportunity to ponder a US musician I'd been following coming to record with Rodrigues (per e.g. Blaise Siwula & K'Ampokol Che K'Aay...): Bennett can be difficult to feature at times, it seems, as This Full Mouth can lack a bit of foreground, e.g. as low rubbed percussion or other subtle interventions (& senses of hiding...), but he also does animate a general percussive sense through the ensemble, pizzicato, scrapings, various short string figures moving through a generally pointillistic texture. There's also a sort of darkness to the music, surely suggesting the nocturnal at times (pace Ernesto's series of nocturne-esque albums, the most recent — for quintet with piano — simply titled Nocturne...), vocal-esque at times too (per rubbed percussion...) or even zoomimetic (not unusually...), quiet & growling through a (broad...) sense of dusk — but also invoking the industrial, with light street traffic, lonely.... (So themes of continuity & survival do seem to apply again here as well....) This sort of foreboding or barren landscape (& sense of distension...) then contrasts with Bennett's cultivated sunny disposition, i.e. videos of him sitting & smiling for hours.... Perhaps that might be described as a situated circumstance, whereas for This Full Mouth, things become unsituated. Or maybe the landscape is actually more uncertain than barren.... (And track titles do delve more into the depths of bodily materialism, seeming to recall the Foster collaboration....) Some passages are indeed quiet too, pensive, scuffling.... The general result is even a sort of calming, at least superficially then, but also a deep-seated ambivalence (almost looming anxiety...), a yearning for other worlds perhaps, but also a determination to stick with this world, to appreciate this world... i.e. not necessarily a good world, but our (ongoing, material...) world. Abiding. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts