1/  Straw Dog/You Got Me Rockin'/	         (Last Exit/Reed/              5.50   
          Take Cover/Ma Rainey/                   Last Exit/Brown/
              Crack Butter                           Last Exit)
  2/  Pig Cheese                                 (Last Exit)                   1.54
  3/  Panzer/Be-Bop                              (Last Exit)                   9.00
  4/  Base Metal                                 (Laswell)                     2.25
  5/  Blind Willie                               (Sharrock)                    6.20
  6/  Needles-Balls                              (Brotzmann,Sakata)            4.53
  7/  Civil War Test                             (Last Exit)                   1.56
  8/  Help Me Mo, I'm Blind                      (Last Exit,Hancock)           7.12

          Digitally recorded live at Parco Space Part 3, Tokyo, October 2 and at Pit
            Inn, Tokyo, October 5, 1986
          Recording Engineer: Seigen Ono
          Recording arrangements: Kenny Inaoka and Katsutoshi Sakamoto
          Mixed by Robert Musso and Onkio Haus, Tokyo, October 11-13, 1986
          Assistant engineer: Yukihiro Fukuda
          Produced by Last Exit
          Mastered by Mitsuharu Kobayashi at CBS-Sony Studios, Tokyo, October 18, 1986
          Material Administration: Roger Trilling
          Enemy Records Administration: Mike Knuth
Sonny Sharrock: guitar; Peter Brotzmann: tenor sax, baritone sax, taragato; Bill Laswell: 6 string bass; Ronald Shannon Jackson: drums, voice; Akira Sakata: alto sax, Bb clarinet; Herbie Hancock: piano.

          1986 - Enemy Records (Japan), ENEMY 32 JC 212 (CD)
          1987 - Enemy Records (Germany), EMY 103 (Vinyl)
          1987 - Enemy Records (Germany), EMCD 103 (CD)


Last Exit was definitely a noisy group. Consisting of the explosive guitarist Sonny Sharrock, the fiery Peter Brotzmann on tenor and baritone, electric bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, the word "intense" is an extreme understatement to describe the music. With guests Akira Sakata (on alto and clarinet) and pianist Herbie Hancock, the dense ensemble performs a variety of group originals, all pretty much freely improvised. Although it sometimes hints at country-blues and earlier forms of jazz, the music (which is beyond free funk) is certainly quite avant-garde and passionate.

Scott Yanow (courtesy of the All Music Guide via the Get Music website)


Recorded in October 1986, The Noise of Trouble: Live in Tokyo was the second official Last Exit release to assail the bounds of decency and taste in jazz improvisation (that's a compliment). Well on the heels of their early-1986 European tour, the group's interplay was pretty well-honed by this point, comfortable enough that they could welcome guests for some of the Tokyo performances: reedman Akira Sakata and, oddly, Herbie Hancock (on one piece). The album opens with a five-section medley that places snatches of blues songs in between group improvisations, and that's as accessible as things get. Shorter, free-form sound explorations usually centered around Sharrock's guitar alternate with longer, freely improvised jams highlighting the group's uncanny feel for smooth transitions. Sometimes they'll hit on a blues- or rock-tinged riff or a solid groove; sometimes they'll leave one individual to solo freely, whether by pushing with their support or dropping out altogether; sometimes they'll build up to a full, free group improvisation. The tracks with Sakata on the second half of the album are the best; his interactions with Peter Brotzmann are delightfully chaotic flurries of sound, and Sonny Sharrock sometimes joins in on the upper reaches of his fretboard for a third, perfectly blended voice. Sakata and Brotzmann also duet on "Needles Balls," which features some goofy bird-call noises that sound like a mouthpiece being played separately from its instrument. The Hancock track "Help Me Mo I'm Blind" finds the pianist mostly vamping on riffs and soloing traditionally; it sounds like he's joined at times and left to do his own thing at others. For listeners attuned to such extreme sounds, The Noise of Trouble is intoxicating in its raw, undiluted power and total disregard for propriety, not to mention the musicians' mastery of improvisational communication.

4 stars out of 5

Steve Huey (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)