1-2 Weeks
Trente Belles Annees


Jim Sauter (tenor saxophone), Don Dietrich (tenor saxophone) and Donald Miller (guitar); recorded live at Instants Chavires Montreuil, France, December 19, 2009. "What is there to say about Borbetomagus, apart from trotting out all those tired old lines about high-octane, earwax-melting balls-on-the-line free improvisation at cow-rending volume (thanks to Byron Coley for those last two)? If you want meat, details of the history of the group and their various escapades during the past three decades, generously seasoned with Messrs Sauter, Dietrich and Miller's wry humor, I respectfully suggested you go to But the chances are you've been there, or someplace like it.... So let me assume instead you know precious little about the Instants Chavires in Montreuil, just outside Paris, where this concert took place on December 19th 2009, and the last leg of a tour organized by the Instants' Jean-Francois Pichard to celebrate 30 years of Borbetomagus. It's an odd venue, acoustically: with a high ceiling, an upstairs dressing room above the bar which most musicians don't use unless they want to smoke without going outside or grab a gratis Kronenberg, and a balcony of sorts above the door accessible only by ladder and therefore not used by the public..... Unless you know the place already I don't suppose the above will mean much to you as you listen to this, but for what it's worth, I moved around that room quite a lot during the 46-minute set, remembering what Don Dietrich said in my interview about recording Experience the Magic back in 1993: 'We ditched the three amp approach and we had this big fucking Sunn amp, put all three of our signals into it, and what's really interesting if you listen is you've got this big mass of speakers that we're basically in front of, and as Jim and I walk in front of the speakers you can hear our sound shadows walking in front of the amplifier.' I love that story, and I experienced that same magic during the Instants gig between the pillars by the bar, thrilling at the myriad subtle shifts of frequency and timbre caused by the slightest movement of my head as I craned my neck forward to get a better view of what was happening onstage. Subtle? Borbetomagus subtle? You bet -- listen carefully and you'll hear quite clearly what's going on. You might not be able to tell Jim and Don apart all the time, but you can certainly hear how they bounce ideas off each other and then each take on Donald. So I strongly recommend you try the same thing: crank the volume as high as you can and dare see how this sounds from the other end of your apartment, or inside your walk-in closet when the neighbors come up to get you." --Dan Warburton