Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, New York (14/06/2019)
"2000 with JAN KLARE / BART MARIS / WILBERT DE JOODE / MICHAEL VATCHER* + STEVE SWELL* / ELISABETH COUDOUX – Plant (El Negocito / Umland Rercords 19; EEC) Featuring Jan Klare on alto sax, Bart Maris on trumpet, Wilbert DeJoode on bass and Michael Vatcher on drums plus Elisabeth Coudoux on cello and Steve Swell on trombone. 1000 began in 2004 as a quartet with Mr. Klare, Maris, DeJoode and Vatcher. This quartet went on to record five discs, the last one included Eugene Chadbourne as their guest. Although they are an improvising unit, they have played pieces by classical composers like JS Bach, Ravel, Monteverdi and Gregorian chants. Formerly American drummer Michael Vatcher moved to New York in 2017 and has been helping out at DMG this year. 1000 expanded with two guests (Steve Swell & Elisabeth Coudoux) to become 2000 and play at the Moers Festival last year (2018). This disc features the six piece version of 2000 and was recorded in a studio in May of 2018.

Since I am only mildly familiar with the music of Bach and Ravel, I couldn't tell you which composers inspired which pieces on this disc. All the pieces were written Jan Klare or Bart Maris with one piece as a group improv. Starting with "Garden", there is an enchanting series of drones provided by the sax, trumpet, cello and bass with Mr. Vatcher's subtle small percussion used as selective sonic spice. "Shells" sounds free yet there is much more going on below the surface, it sounds as if the center is constantly shifting, with different waves rising and falling. I love the sound of those shifting harmonies, the sax, trumpet, trombone and cello work well as one united sound mass. On "Toss", the several currents shift around one another, keeping us all off balance, like balancing on raft in the ocean. The sounds of multiple horns is most triumphant, as if there is something important to take place. No matter how free things sound at times, there is a number of directed or written sections which emerge from the more chaotic moments. There is a good deal of unexpected magic going on here, sections that seem to come out of nowhere and bring together different subsections of the sextet. Longtime favorite of mine, Michael Vatcher is a perfect choice as he knows when to lay out and only contributes when it is necessary. Without a doubt, this is my favorite CD of the week!"

Ken Waxman, Jazzword (21/04/2019)
"Proving once again his adaptability and the welcome he gets from European-based bands two of New York trombonist Steve Swell's newest CDs highlight his contributions to ostensibly German-based combos. ... With low-pitched exploration an apt metaphor for the affiliated sextet Plant, the other CD demonstrates the re-imagining of the sextet sounds from a band that started as a trio in 2004.

With more textures available with extra instruments, Plant's tracks range from the amiable to the agitated to the atonal. For instance the set begins with "garden ", a cultured slice of harmonized then splintered horn parts that ends with broken chord climaxes from plunger trombone and shrill reeds. A lively rhythm tune, the penultimate "more shells" mixes savory plucks from the bassist, souped-up cello slices, and horn parts ranging from mid-section harmony to whistling alto saxophone bites. The preceding "teasy venus" however presages a detour into foot-tapping pseudo-Dixieland. It includes rumbles, splatters and pops from Vatcher that solidify into a march to blend with de Joode's walking bass, Maris' trumpet whinnies and Swell's tailgate smears. Still other tracks portray this blend of dynamics and delights by keeping the interaction resolutely 21st Century. For instance "rott" is defined by how the theme sneaks out after mixed bellows and growls from the low-pitched trombone and the high-pitched trumpet, evolves into a stop-time march and climaxing at steeplechase speeds. Most crucially, de Joode's intermittent double-timed bass plucks and a swelling pizzicato exposition from Coudoux on "wobble" ignore the title to become intense as ring-modulator-like gonging and buzzing reed timbres fill the sound field."

Jean - Michel Van Schouwburg, orynx improvandsounds blogspot (14/01/2019)
"Après 1000, soit Jan Klare saxophone Bart Maris trompette Wilbert De Joode contrebasse et Michael Vatcher percussions), voici 2000. Le quartet 1000 est devenu 2000, un sextet avec la violoncelliste Elisabeth Coudoux et le tromboniste Steve Swell. 2000 fonctionne à l'empathie, l'écoute et l'imagination. Une musique qui emboîte des structures subtilement consonantes et minimalistes en sonorités recherchées, suspendue et dont le souffle s'enfle dans des crescendos de notes tenues, drones jazz vibrantes. Les deux cordistes ont trouvé une belle complicité en phase avec l'esprit de corps des souffleurs. Des fanfares de deux notes en carillon naissent des tuilages invisibles. Tout cela, et encore beaucoup d'autres choses, font de 2000 un groupe de jazz réellement d'avant-garde à nulle autre pareil. Vatcher semble jouer à peine ou alors mène la danse comme dans chills où chaque intervention individuelle se télescope avec celles des autres alors que grogne la contrebasse. Cette pièce est d'une légère subtilité rythmique sursautant dans les harmonies. Pas de « solos », mais un arrangement simultané de l'improvisation qui évolue au fil du disque. Chaque morceau de musique apporte son plaisir propre : les musiciens ont beaucoup travaillé cette musique à six qui allie une grande simplicité à la plus profonde subtilité. Quand le swing s'invite on a droit à des surprises. Un excellent travail qui a le mérite de démontrer aux amateurs de jazz moderne qu'une autre musique est possible qui échappe aux lieux communs. J'apprécie beaucoup leur véritable originalité qui repose sur un son collectif qui entraîne le rêve."