***PRESS 2023***


eNR110: Squaring The Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh
Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine (25/08/2023)
Sometimes, awareness of an artist’s inspiration will help you grasp their work. With Squaring The Circle, that’ll only get you so far. Squaring The Circle is Belgian composer Heleen Van Haegenborgh’s response to Johan De Widle’s Pi — Fugue pour les survivants, a graphic piece representing the number pi which is extended each year by its maker. While the mathematic foundation of this CD-length piece’s contents are hard to discern, their sounds just might give you a glimpse into the infinite. Performed by the composer and GAME, a percussion quartet, it combines the reverberant tones of drums, vibraphones, bells and other strikable metal objects with close-up, voltage-derived zaps. Even coming out of a home hi-fi, it creates a sense of ever-expanding space.

eNR115: Music Might Help by Aligaga
Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts (29/07/2023)
The Italian-Belgian-Dutch-German quintet ALIGAGA was born in 2014 «within the womb of mother art where communication, tribal friendship, respect, emotions and integration». The musicians of this band once shared a flat in Maastricht and met after music class to jam and create inspiring new music. Music Might Help is a double album and already the fifth one of this band and is structured like a musical puzzle. It blooms into a cinematographic arborescence sparkling with spontaneity, voices, pulsing energies, mystery, colors and creativity.

ALIGAGA tells an engaging and colorful, energetic and sometimes even psychedelic or magic realism story – written by tenor sax player Joos Vandueren with music by double bass player Federco Corsini, who also did the artwork – about #a clown called Seyya. She was distant but had a warm heart. Her father, Koko, was also a clown. Her mother had left the circus not long after Seyya was born, Why? a conundrum, the only knowledge she had of her mother’s existence is that she became the owner of a world record; the longest time anyone kept their eyelids open, submerged in saltwater». ALIGAGA presents this story as a jazz plus pop, rock n’ roll and some trip-hop pastiche, with many detours – and guests – that add more nuances to the adventurous and wild story.

But ALIGAGA knows how to sketch such a complex and dramatic story, with perfect doses of urgency, maturity and musical risk-taking, and, obviously, irresistible and seductive melodies and jubilant emotionality, as Guy Peters mentions in his liner notes. The story is narrated by Simon Vandueren and his brothers Theun and Joos and ALIGAGA in its own peculiar way adapts the individual, determined personality of Seyya. «I do what I do, not to be popular, I do it because I want to connect with everything and everyone, on this living plane. by asking questions». And, needless to add, the music of ALIGAGA certainly helps.

eNR106: s/t by Ocean Eddie
Troy Dostert, All About Jazz (22/07/2023)
Taking their inspiration from whirlpools and countercurrents, the three Belgians who comprise Ocean Eddie allow their individual voices to merge and diverge in pursuit of a deeper level of communication. Accordionist Stan Maris, pianist Andreas Bral and saxophonist Viktor Perdieus create a compelling chamber aesthetic which exudes fragility and vulnerability, with more than a little beauty along the way.

The album's eleven pieces take on different modes, from well-demarcated tunes to much more abstract explorations of sound and texture. Perdieus' "Isme" has the jaunty feel of an elusive Thelonious Monk number, as the saxophonist and Maris each articulate the melody independently, although their separate pathways intertwine by the end of the piece. "Ochre" takes its time to unfold, with all three musicians slowly finding their way toward the track's lyrical center; Bral's "Ask" has a winding character with a somber melody which remains open-ended enough to allow for an especially introspective improvisation from the pianist. Maris' "The End" has a delicate charm as the accordionist colorfully explores the piece's poignant theme alongside his partners.

Just as effective are the more ambiguous moments, such as "Spirit Plumbing," which carves out more ethereal territory, with Perdius' breathy saxophone in a languid space staying just barely in contact with the oblique expressions of Maris and Bral. A palpable intensity ensues by the end of the track, with something approaching a recognizable theme, even if it takes on an enigmatic form.

Other pieces rely even more heavily on texture, such as "Skruj," Maris' repeated phrases pushing Perdieus and Bral (working on the inside of the piano) towards an unsettled tension, and "Molanopedie 3," the album's longest track, with Perdieus' close-miked extended techniques and Maris' drones leading into a dark space which is only barely illuminated by Bral's echoing chords. The patient development of this nine-minute piece highlights the trio's willingness to use silence as part of its approach, and it adds layers of intrigue and mystery to its sound. By the finish of the album, a brisk two-minute solo junket from Bral which again evokes Monk, it becomes clear that this is a group which will keep us guessing, always with surprising possibilities to discover.

eNR077: Horn-Drum by Sued Baggiani
Herman te Loo, Jazzflits nr. 401 (17/07/2023)
Er zijn saxofonisten die heel ritmisch kunnen spelen en drummers die juist weer melodisch zijn aangelegd. De Amsterdamse Argentijnen Natalio Sued (tenorsaxofoon) en Marcos Baggiani (drums) zijn daar uitstekende voorbeelden van. In de loop der jaren zijn ze al in allerlei samenstellingen te horen geweest, maar nu maken ze hun plaatdebuut als duo, met de wat zakelijke naam ‘Horn-Drum’. Maar de muziek op het album is verre van zakelijk. Het tweetal is zo speels als twee kleine jongens die de vrije hand hebben gekregen. En dat levert geestige liedjes op, zoals het haast Rollins-achtige ‘Memorias del futuro’, maar ook een behoedzame bijna-ballad (‘El Misterio de la noche’), een stuk dat aan de bop raakt (‘Bijna song’) en een bluesy eerbetoon aan de ‘heavy tenors’ (‘The Second time you have said never again’). Sued en Baggiani trekken alle klankmogelijkheden van hun instrumenten uit de kast, maar nergens leidt dat tot gefreak of imponeergedrag. Iedere noot, of die nu in samenklank of als ‘call and response’ gespeeld wordt, levert pure muziek op. Dat is ook de conclusie die hoestekstschrijver Oscar Jan Hoogland trekt.

eNR109: Monkey’s Meeting by Jordi Grognard Trio
Jean-Claude Vantroyen, Le Soir (05/07/2023) ****
Monkey’s Meeting, parce que vous êtes trois singes à jouer cette musique ? Jordi Grognard me regarde d’un air ironique (ses yeux sourient toujours) : « Mais non, je préférais prendre le titre de ce morceau pour l’album qu’Infrabelle, par exemple. Je le trouvais pertinent, amusant, facile, monkey bizness quoi. Pas de prise de tête intello : c’est juste un titre ! » Le saxophoniste bruxellois joue du ténor mais aussi de la clarinette basse, de la flûte et de la grailla sur cet album. De la grailla ?
« C’est un instrument catalan, comme une bombarde, en fait. » On ne se prénomme pas Jordi pour rien. Autour de lui, Manolo Cabras à la contrebasse et Gaspard Sicx à la batterie. Un beau trio. je l’avais vu au Karreveld, à Molenbeek, lors du confinement, quand on organisait des concerts en plein air où les spectateurs devaient tenir leurs distances. C’était très ensoleillé, très énergique et puissant. L’album est tout aussi fort mais aussi plus sophistiqué.
C’est du post-bop, du modal, du post-Ornette Coleman si on peut dire. « Comme Ornette envisageait l’harmelodie, l’harmonie déduite de la mélodie. » Sur des thèmes fournis par Jordi Grognard, c’est de l’impro collective. Le trio pratique la langue d’Ornette Coleman et Don Cherry. « Bien sûr j’ai aussi écouté Coltrane et Youssef Lateef, ce sont mes références. Mais je ne veux pas reproduire ce qu’ils faisaient. Cela m’inspire, mais je ne copie pas », ajoute Jordi. L’enregistrement est pris dans les conditions du live : pas d’overdub, pas d’edit. Et c’est très réussi. Le trio est très lié, chacun sent ce que l’autre va faire. Et les musiques sont belles. Sun Raag ou Gone, yet here ou Basmatea, en tout neuf pistes. De la « free form music » peut-être, mais pas du «noise»: la musique est libre et incisive, mais elle est esthétique et totalement accessible. Et j’aime beaucoup.

eNR104: As We Thought by Wisdom Trio
Jos Demol, Europe Jazz Media Chart - July 2023 (07/2023)
The bass notes are very round and warm, the rhythm is fine and alert, and the saxophones (tenor and soprano) and flute in particular play an incredibly harmonious game, with Luppi finding pleasure in switching from one instrument to another.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Ken Waxman, Jazzword (04/07/2023)
An uncommon – but probably not as unique as he imagines – project from Brussel-based Italian pianist Augusto Pirodda weaves vocal contributions from Lynn Cassiers into his three movement, 10 tune Concerto for Jazz Septet. Although dealing with the now Brussels-based pianist’s thoughts about an individual maturity and freedom the English words are often indistinct or modified by the singer’s use of electronics.

Nonetheless enough instrumental firepower is available to express Pirodda’s messages even if the words are indistinct. During all three of the concerto’s interconnected movements, rather than accompany the phrases, the players actually comment on them in varied tempos, techniques and tessitura. Septet members are inventive and experienced as well, consisting of trumpeter/flugelhornist Laurent Blondiau, saxophonist/flutist Ben Sluijs saxophonist/clarinetist Sam Comerford, bassist Manolo Cabras and drummer Marek Patrman.

What that means is that, for instance, on the cojoined “Moving” and “Long Time No Sea” the eventual expression of dark and despondent lyrics, harmonized with piano comping have already been suggested by low-pitch double bass pumps, pedal-point piano pressure and most overtly double-tongued and fragmented reed vibrations. Whether Cassiers articulates lyrics or semi-scats, responses from or counterpoint with the horns evolves with similar motifs. Much of Self Sabotage Suite’s essence can bypass the hissing electronics which disrupt the themes of despair and regeneration though. Instead this transformation is described by a triple meld of trumpet squeals, horizontal clarinet trills and nerve beats from the drummer. Blondiau and Comerford’s responses on “Back to Square One” illustrate this. Melding rugged, stop-time tenor saxophone riffs with tongue-sucking plunger tones on top of sul tasto bass swipes personify shifting moods more than the fragmented bel canto singing.

While the final phrases heard on the disc are Cassiers intoning Pirodda’s philosophical musings at the conclusion of the Third Movement, fragile clarinet vibrations, muted trumpet whinnies and linear keyboard clangs provide the needed build up to the simple sound termination. Realizing his need to express his inner views of life, Pirodda has perhaps inadvertently reconfirmed the power of music over words.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Raul Da Gama, Jazz Da Gama (17/06/2023)
There is a lot to take in with this epic musical adventure, Playing with Standards, by Seppe Gebruers, the forward-thinking Belgian musician and pianist. There is the pedagogy of it all that begins quite clearly by questioning the relationship between the improvising pianist [which by virtue of that very act of improvisation makes him ‘improviser/composer’] and ‘listener’ both of whom – in this instance – are the pianist; pedagogics which also first questions, and then intervenes in the traditional order of musical intervals by means of performing on two pianos tuned a quartertone apart. This latter aspect of the recording makes for the interesting – with deep and almost multi directional ears – listening [on the part of the pianist/listener and the me and you, the listeners outside the studio], which in turn involves the processing of a tonal palette of a myriad of colours tone-textures produced by twenty-four intervallic semitones – as opposed to the twelve intervals of an octave, produced when an instrument is ‘well-tempered’ [traditionally tuned using the method adopted by Johann Sebastian Bach].

If that were all this recording meant to the listener, it would have been very boring indeed. Fortunately, the recording is so much more than pedagogy. It is an enormously entertaining performance even as it begins with a series of dark notes at the start When You Wish Upon a Star on disc one, with Mr Gebruers and his music taking you into another world of light and shadow as seen through the splintered, mirror of a sort of unending Stravinsky-esque scherzo, disc after disc and hour after hour. Accordingly, Mr Gebruers begins that liner note with an instructional quote by the French Renaissance philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne: “When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not playing with me rather that I play with her?” Thus, the pianist [conveniently] appropriates Montaigne’s question to his own questioning of whether he is playing the pianos or whether, in fact, the pianos are playing him. The whimsy of the analogy is tempered by the fact that there is some truth in ‘the piano playing the pianist’ by virtue of the fact that not only are two pianos being played at once, but also in the altered piano tuning between each of the instruments.

With all of this is born – first of all – Mr Gebruers’ dramatic, harmonic conception born of a twenty-four-semitone octave. Listening to the music thus created one feels as if it unfolds, evoking the imagery of unfurling ceremonial fans: the ancient Grecian rhipis or 6th century European flabellum, or – best of all – a multi coloured Japanese ogi. The imagery of it all translates easily into music with the interminable punching and probing of Mr Gebruers’ almost insolently virtuosic pianism. The ingenuity of his musicianship experienced in the performance of the songs themselves, a fable-like telling that mixes reality and illusion in what seems to be a musical parallel to Alice’s falling down that rabbit hole into Lewis Carroll’s proverbial Wonderland followed, as well, by a seemingly endless musical adventure Through the Looking Glass, which is – in this case – Mr Gebruers’ vision for reinventing – or on his terms – his Playing with Standards.

This Playing with Standards is a metaphor [or even a] portal to Mr Gebruers’ world. To enjoy the sense of invention and the beauty of the manner in which the ‘standards’ are re-played we must allow ourselves to listen with ears and minds that remember and forget, and thus with associating and disassociating with our [earliest and latest] memories of [how we heard and continue to hear] each of these ‘standards’ such as When You Wish Upon a Star, I Loves You Porgy, La vie en rose and Just a Gigolo, or Never Let Me Go [all eight variations!], and What Is This Thing Called Love, Bye Bye Blackbird; right down to It Never Entered My Mind and Donna Lee [versions 1 through 3], all of which are brilliantly and tantalizingly twisted and turned inside out in an unending series of musical mobius strips that adorn each of the three discs.

Through it all Mr Gebruers breaks out of the proverbial prison of tradition. The impulse of the musician in the throes of creativity is always to move forward and Mr Gebruers has broken out of that prison. Like every musician seeking to explore the furthest extent of the powers of his own musicianship and to explore the furthest boundaries of sound in the musical continuum Mr Gebruers understands that the inner dynamic of tradition is to always innovate and this he does splendidly throughout this defiantly provocative body of music, chiseled from out of the bedrock of both the American and European traditions [In a manner of speaking from George Gershwin to Charlie Parker, from Igor Stravinsky to unchartered territories defined by Mr Gebruers himself…and beyond]. Through the music of Playing with Standards, then, he positions himself in dramatic creative conflict of how the age-old protocols [of how the elements of music ought to work]. And so, in addition to ‘playing’ with the tuning of the second piano, he also actively throws overboard melodic, structural and harmonic hooks that have been expressively blunted through overuse and builds from what might – or might not – be left [of them].

The result is a kind of instinctive radicalism that Seppe Gebruers wears like a musical guerrilla, seemingly shredding – even vandalizing – cultural norms that bind musical performance often with his music propelled in great elliptical arcs, with ticking motor rhythms, volatile arpeggios, theatrics applied to glissandos as well as to dissonances, seemingly wrenching his instrument[s] apart and blowing through the resultant debris before re-assembling the shattered pieces back together again. At the same time musical beauty is clearly central to Mr Gebruers’ credo. But it is completely opposed to the overly perfumed, audience-ingratiating beauty typical of commercial music. His sense of beauty is almost analogous with [and evocative of] the German word Geräusch – meaning noise, which in the narratives of his music is, in every sense, the kind of natural noise like wind blowing or trees rustling, which enable to traverse his Playing with Standards almost as if he were telling fairy tales like some later-day Hans Christian Andersen. This is quite the landmark series of discs, mirroring a map of forgotten masterpieces of modernists from Gershwin and Charlie Parker, to Stravinsky – and by virtue of his own reinventions of the standards as performer and re-composer – Mr Gebruers traversing his palimpsest of his uncompromising and elemental sound world.

Deo gratis…

eNR105: Kobe Van Cauwenberghe's Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton
Kurt Gottschalk, The New York City Jazz Record Gazette (06/2023)
It takes a performance history to save a composer from the dustbin. Granted, that’s less true than it was before the recording age, but the digital era is arguably bringing back that ill-fated fast track. Recordings and scores won’t keep compositions in the collective memory. It’s ongoing performance that keeps them alive.

For a composer as prolific and brilliant as Anthony Braxton (who turns 78 this month), continued performance is vital. His work has been performed almost entirely by ensembles led either by himself or by musicians who have worked closely with him. With work so open to individual interpretation, it’s not just important for its future to have it performed; any such performance directly informs the present.

Kobe Van Cauwenberghe has engaged with, indulged in and absorbed the Ghost Trance Music, one of Braxton’s headiest and most exciting compositional systems. In 2020, he released his Ghost Trance Solos, an effective if counterintuitive guitar-looping approach to a performance process that allows for concurrent interpolations from across Braxton’s catalog, and does a convincing job at realizing a concept designed for in- the-moment ensemble subgroupings.

He has now expanded that effort to a full band, and to wonderful effect. The four performances on Ghost Trance Septet Plays Anthony Braxton—sourced from Compositions 193, 255, 264 and 358, each a bit over 20 minutes—ring clearly with Braxton’s voice, but as refracted by the musical personalities of a talented assemblage of Belgian and Danish players. Van Cauwenberghe employs a standard midsize jazz band lineup—trumpet, reeds, violin, piano, bass, drums—himself playing electric and nylon string guitars and adding some surprising synthesizer. Trumpeter niels Van Heertum provides some nice, murky euphonium on Composition 258, and off-mic vocals add to the fabric of Composition 255. But it’s on Composition 264 that the ensemble really comes into its own, with long and seemingly open passages and especially fiery soloing by the leader.

Performance histories are what move musicians associated with the jazz tradition from the entertainer role across the line to the (racially-defined and more esteemed under eurocentric standards) status of composer. The Ghost Trance Septet hasn’t just made an enjoyable (and very much so) record for the current moment; they’ve contributed to the future critical assessment of a musical mind as important as ellington and Riddle on the one hand and Stockhausen and Xenakis on the other.

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Anne Yven, Jazznytt Norway p.56 (06/2023)
Neste stopp: Belgia! Her rasker vi med oss litt av Brüssel-sounden, ved hjelp av Sous Un Ciel d'Écailles - soloskiva til altsaksofonisten Audrey Lauro - hvis prosjekter gjerne fungerer som arenaer for à utarbeide nye lydsprak Innen en spesifikk kontekst. Denne ble inspirert av Chapelle du Grand Hospice I Brüssel, hvor albumet ble spilt inn i 2022. Har du planer om en zen-sommer, er dette en ypperlig inngang til fokusering og ekspansjon av ditt mentale rom, da Lauro pa sensitivt vis uttrykker wart mye med kun fa toner. Merk at Limited Edition-utgaven av albumet (med trykk pa sort papir), inneholder tegninger og malerier laget av hennes far. En meningsfull mate a fa rom og tid til a resonnere i materien.

eNR075: Udnie by Giacomo Merega & Camera con Camera
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly, Creative Music and other forms of Avant Garde (25/05/2023)
Playing bass guitar and chanting, Giacomo Merega brings in the voice and synthesizer of Rema Hasum and guitarist Todd Neufeld for nine “ideas”. Merega brings three solo tracks, to open things up, including a very high pitched ‘Sonno Nelle Campane” and a blue waltz of “Due Notturni Secchi II”. From there , Hasumi’s edgy voice adds to the effects of “’Dard” , a lullaby of “Forest” and a dreamlike “Anthropometrie” while Neufeld is gentle on your mind on ”How We Like To Sing Along”. Was the tape just rolling along?

eNR077: Horn-Drum by Sued Baggiani
Ken Waxman, Jazzword (23/05/2023)
The Netherlands’ long time reputation for promoting freedom of expression has certainly been confirmed in the field of free music. Not only have local improvisers established themselves internationally, but exploratory musicians from elsewhere have gravitated there as well. So it is with these fine instance of freeform playing from two saxophone-percussion duos. Horn-Drum was recorded in the participants’ Amsterdam home base, but tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Natalio Sued and drummer Marcos Baggiani are both Argentinian. Sued and Baggiani who also work in ensembles with Oscar Jan Hoogland, divide their interactive program into 11 mid-sized tracks.

“Ritual” is the most extended and unique exchange on Horn-Drum. Rather than projecting the widening multiphonics as he does in many other sequences, Sued echoes toneless breaths backwards as Baggiani colors the exposition with intermittent light plops and sympathetic gong-like metal claps. Still any move towards minimalism is scotched before the ending as raucous reed smears confirm hardness as well as harmony. While other tracks may touch on melodic relaxation, it’s rapidity not repose which characterize most of the disc. Taken at march tempo, “Memorias Del Futuro” for instance allows the saxophonist to slide, doit and soar with reed textures both Latin-like and reflecting Sonny Rollins dot-dash stutters. Backed by pitter-patter paradiddles from the drummer, the final section becomes an andante stroll, juddering on high-pitched snare snaps. Baggiani’s ambidextrous pacing also dominates the more technical “Waynu” where the saxophonist emphasizes inner metal vibrations from his instrument in the form of snarls, bites and scoops. On the other hand, “Dialoog” gives full rein to the drummer’s press rolls, rim shots and paradiddles. He creates technical expansion at the same time as maintaining linear flow as Sued’s trills and flutters retreat to the background. Overall with widening and diminishing textures which modulate to project wood, skin and metal drum aspects and every vibration from the reed ranging from gaunt sniffs to breathy snorts exposed, the two connect progressively as they undulate through the selection balancing the straight-ahead and the speculative.

Stripped to essentials of wood, metal, skin and cork, it’s easy to see why so many questing musicians take up this minimalist challenge. Additionally this disc show exactly what sort of quality sounds can be created in this configuration.

eNR115: Music Might Help by Aligaga
Guy Peters, Jazzandmo (17/05/2023)
De bende valt met een stevige bominslag in huis en wat volgt is eigenlijk al net zo verrassend. Helemaal in de geest en sfeer van de uitbundige hoes (van de hand van bandleider/bassist Federico Corsini) gaat het Brussels-Kopenhaagse sextet op wandeling door een kleurrijk muzikaal universum waarin potige riffs, kloeke interactie en een zak vol rotaanstekelijke thema's voortdurend op elkaar inwerken. Het herinnert door die dubbele saxlinie hier en daar misschien wat aan Human Feel of het speelse van The Lounge Lizards, maar daar blijft het niet bij.

'Hurrycane' start als een brokje jazzy triphop met gastzangeres, maar grijpt je verderop bij de lurven met verrassend pakkende samenzang, 'Summer Drummer' is het perfecte evenwicht van punkenergie en jazzgulheid, 'Seyya' vouwt open tot een grandioos brokje cinema. Daartussen: klinkende uitweidingen en krappe wendingen, vol boude accenten, uitgelaten humor en steeds weer die oorwurmen op het raakvlak tussen postbop, free en pop. En dan besloten ze ook nog om de muziek in een raamvertelling/hoorspel te stoppen. Die getuigt van evenveel verbeelding, al zal je vooral teruggrijpen naar het album voor de muziek. Wie enkel de muziek wil, koopt best de lp. En pik ze live mee (op 29.05 tijdens het Citadelic Festival, bijvoorbeeld), want dan komen de kleuren en ideeën helemaal tot hun recht. Doen!

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Ken Waxman, Jazzword (16/05/2023)
Micro computations can be as effective as macro ones, as Lauro, who plays with Giotis Damianidis among others, demonstrates. Further, except for the stand-alone “Haut-Parleur Dôme” at midpoint, the other tracks are in two versions of varying brief lengths. The most fully realized improv, “Haut-Parleur Dôme” begins with a high-pitched squeal and proceeds through toneless air blown through the horn’s body tube without key pressure to a sequence where implement shakes impel tongue stops and metallic pops into a reflective final patter. Other than that, each extended variant of the paired tunes is practically a palimpsest. By widening buzzing screeches, jangling hisses and altissimo vibrations connective motifs are revealed. Toneless breaths on the extended version of the title tune for instance, use spittle-encrusted blowing to corral distant squeaks and silent pauses into a collection of dissident defining trills. More spectacularly, “Échappée Du Dôme (2)”, surpasses the mid-range flutters of the first version to cram so many fragmented into the exposition that soon two reed lines are heard. As they criss-cross one another they echo back into the background metallic clangs that pace the contrast between reed spikes and smears.

Another axiom is that size isn’t everything. Lauro confirms that dictum with these notable if miniatured sessions.

eNR104: As We Thought by Wisdom Trio
Eric Therer, Jazzmania (11/05/2023)
Souvent, nous avons fait l’article dans nos pages d’El Negocito, label gantois curieux et défricheur, faisant la part belle aux musiques improvisées et dont le catalogue s’est étoffé pour dépasser la centaine de productions. C’est à nouveau vers l’Italie qu’il se tourne aujourd’hui avec la parution de ce disque mettant en exergue une génération de musiciens ayant débuté leur carrière dans les années septante. Les premiers faits d’arme du batteur Filippo Monico remontent au tout début de cette décennie quand, à 16 ans à peine, il rejoignit le Gruppo Contemporaneo, une formation historique du free jazz italien. Ceux du saxophoniste et flûtiste Riccardo Luppi commencent cinq ans plus tard, alors qu’il incorpore le Democratic Orchestra et le Milano Music Collective, également des formations ayant fait école. Joe Fonda a, pour sa part, un parcours un peu différent puisqu’il est originaire des Etats-Unis. Contrebassiste solide, il a joué avec des pointures comme Oliver Lake, Wadada Leo Smith et Michael Jefry Stevens.

Le Wisdom trio est l’incarnation de leur rencontre. Ce disque carte de visite reprend quatre morceaux saisis sur le vif à Milan et quatre autres captés en studio. Des pièces improvisées mais pas que. Chacun apporte avec lui sa mémoire mélodique et son savoir-faire pour en faire bénéficier les autres. Au final, on est loin des poncifs du free jazz mais plutôt en présence de compositions somme toute assez bien charpentées et jamais rébarbatives. Des sonorités de basse très rondes, chaudes, une rythmique fine et en alerte et surtout un incroyable jeu harmonique des saxophones (ténor et soprano) et de la flûte, dont Luppi s’amuse en passant de l’un à l’autre.

eNR110: Squaring The Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh
Clive Bell, The Wire (09/05/2023)
"How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics." The line is a mnemonic to recall the value of the infinite number pi, devised a century ago by British physicist James Jeans. Pi continues to fascinate, offering a portal into mathematical mysteries. Helen Van Haegenborgh is a pianist, improvisor and composer in Ghent, Belgium, and her new release Squaring The Circle for percussion quartet and electronics is a stirring musical journey into the heart of pi-manipulated chaos.

The work is also a response to a visual piece in Van Haegenborgh's home town: Pi, Fugue Pour Les Survivants by Johan De Wilde, an ongoing graphic grid of brightly coloured strips which De Wilde adds to each year. The image is reproduced in the CD booklet, and it has a handmade quality, somewhere between a tapestry and a scientific graph recording an experiment. However Van Haegenborgh's music stands proud and independent, unreliant on pictures or maths. It's simply a very strong performance and surely some form of collaboration between the composer and her young percussionists: Aya Suzuki, Anita Cappuccinelli, Lucas Messer and Diego Sáenz Mateo, together known as GAME.

Employing a houseful of instruments - from the roar of gongs and timpani to the tuned crotales and tubular bells, via the joy of a "spiral thrash" - the group generate a single 45 minute piece that ebbs and flows. There's plenty of variety without rhetoric or hysteria, and enough space to make listening simple and pleasureable. As Van Haegenborgh puts it, a sense of freedom, naturalness and directness is what she always struggles for.

Electronic sound is used modestly at first, but around halfway through the electronics kicks in and provides extra excitement. Everything is excellently recorded by Peter Desmedt in his Ghent studio. Ten years ago Van Haegenborgh was performing her Signaux for piano and 23 foghorns to a large audience outdoors in the Ghent docks. Squaring The Circle denotes a composer whose capacity for intrigue persists.

eNR115: Music Might Help by Aligaga
Dave Sumner, The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: April 2023 (27/04/2023)
There’s a theatrical flair to Music Might Help. It’s bombastic in attitude, episodic in nature, plus delivers a little storytime narration to accompany its wild sonic imagery. Melodies are malleable, and vivid. The tempos have a predilection for obliterating the path ahead, but prove equally capable of bursts of witty repartee. The sextet Aligaga (plus guests) offer up an album sure to draw a smile, even as it generates more than its share of intrigue.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Eric Therer, Jazzmania (20/04/2023)
Mieux que quiconque, les véritables audiophiles (ceux qui aiment le son et non son artefact qu’incarne le mythe ressassé de la haute-fidélité) savent que l’écoute est un processus de longue haleine qui requiert attention, patience, mais aussi parfois un sens de la remise en question. En réalisant cet opus ambitieux – décliné en trois cd – le pianiste belge Seppe Gebruers, s’interroge et nous interroge sur le son, mais davantage encore sur le processus d’interprétation dont le son est partie intégrante. L’objectif est ambitieux. La lecture de la notice qui accompagne l’album nous renseigne sur une démarche profondément personnelle et singulière. Seppe utilise deux pianos inégalement accordés d’un quart de ton de différence, de manière telle que les pianos jouent autant avec lui qu’il ne joue avec eux, ouvrant un vaste champ d’harmoniques insoupçonnés. Il ne produit pas uniquement les sons, mais il est également guidé par la résonance des cordes.

« Playing With Standards » visite, revisite, déconstruit, reconstruit des standards du jazz tels « Donna Lee » de Charlie Parker, « It Never Entered My Mind » de Miles Davis, « Never Let Me Go » de Cole/Evans mais aussi quelques-uns emblématiques de la variété historique tels « The Days of Wine and Roses » de Sinatra ou « La vie en rose » de Piaf. Certains de ces standards sont rejoués plusieurs fois et chaque version diffère des autres ; d’autres sont juxtaposés entre eux. Éludant volontairement les mentions des auteurs orignaux, et dès lors que les morceaux sont « tombés » dans le domaine public, Seppe Gebruers se les approprie pour en céder en quelque sorte l’usage détourné au profit de son public. On n’aborde pas ce disque de manière distraite tant il est impossible de rester indifférent aux changements de tons inhabituels qu’il dégage, à cette impression de disharmonie ou de dissonance que ressentent nos oreilles peu habituées aux octaves fractionnées. Ce que Seppe Gebruers attend de l’auditeur tient, somme toute, peut-être dans cette maxime ramassée : qu’il soit acteur de son écoute ! En cela, il s’inscrit dans une démarche qui nous rappelle celle de Cage.

eNR110: Squaring The Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh
Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts (09/04/2023)
Squaring the Circle is the composition of Belgian pianist-composer Heleen Van Haegenborgh for herself on electronics and the four percussionists ensemble GAME. This composition was inspired and is a musical answer to Pi, a key work of large-form drawing by fellow Belgian artist Johan de Wilde and part of the collection of S.M.A.K., Ghent’s Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art. De Wilde’s meticulous, labor-intensive style is the antithesis of the fast pace of life and the transience of our overly saturated digital visual culture. De Wilde’s drawings are built up like paintings: layer upon layer. They consist of horizontal and vertical lines between which the suggestion of shapes or numbers is interwoven.

Van Haegenborgh manipulated the mathematical concept of Pi – π – the infinite number used to calculate the area and the circumference of a circle, by using the sequence of numbers to create chaos and unpredictability, and encourage freedom. Her complex, cerebral seven-part suite corresponds with the vertical, multicolored aspects of De Wilde’s work by allocating a set of tubular bells per percussion player. This suite also stresses its title through the large number of round instruments on stage such as timpani, bass drums, gongs and cymbals.

Van Haegenborgh’s compositions often struggle with concepts of freedom, naturalness and directness. Squaring the Circle suggests a strange and enigmatic but organic flow of subtle and restrained, atmospheric and peaceful rhythmic patterns. Any attempt of squaring the circle, especially an innovative sonic one, is bound to lead to an unpredictable and surprising outcome. And Squaring the Circle offers surprisingly intimate, quite tangible, harmonic qualities, and like Pi, its rhythmic patterns can continue indefinitely.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Fotis Nikolakopoulos, The Free Jazz Collective (07/04/2023)
It is almost impossible to say that you enjoy every release from any label’s catalogue. Of course there are preferences based on a billion personal and subjective aspects, but for me the main reason to like, or not, a label is the diversity of its catalogue. This is the case of Belgian El Negocito. I can definitely say that not all of its releases work for me but, at the same time, there is no such thing as a definitive “sound” coming from the label. Play any of its cd’s or LP’s and you could never tell. In today’s oversaturation of mannerism and the burden of mythologized (in order to sell more) “traditions” this is so refreshing.

This first recording of the septet by pianist Augusto Pirodda (a “concerto for jazz septet in three movements” as it is sub-titled) has its core on jazz, reminding a bit Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra with a much more minimal approach, but with the use of electronics and a modern, avant-garde even, approach to composition, poses more questions than the answers given by any jazz based ensemble.

Apart from Pirodda, Ben Sluijs is on alto sax and alto flute, Lynn Cassiers on voice and electronics, Sam Comerford on tenor, bass sax and clarinet, Laurent Blondiau on trumpet and flugelhorn, Manolo Cabras on bass and Marek Patrman on drums. This pan-European ensemble moves through jazz’s many branches in almost an hour of music. The sounds are always fragile but also totally agile and flexible. Moving from duos and trios up to small snippets of the septet’s full blown attack, each player has the room to come forth but also dissolve his or her sound into the collective mind of the septet.

All of them seem seeped in jazz traditions but they very clearly, and easily, escape the grey zone which is also the comfort zone for jazz aficionados. As I mentioned earlier there are no easy ways to find out what comes next, apart from close listening with open ears. We definitely do not need another recording that just follows the manual of a “good” jazz recording.

Even when you hear a duo coming forth or when the septet is playing in unison, the focus is on the collective sound of their music. The music is energetic and vibrant, one of those recordings that make you want to listen more. It is no exaggeration to comment that this is something new with old materials. I found it really hard to pin down what elements brought to the music by Pirodda himself and which ones came from the other musicians. This non-hierarchical feeling traverses through all three tracks of the cd.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Ben Taffijn, Nieuwe Noten Nederland (02/04/2023)
‘Playing with standards’ heet het nieuwe driedubbelalbum van pianist Seppe Gebruers dat onlangs bij El Negocito verscheen. En let op de titel, want waarom staat er niet gewoon: ‘Playing Standards’? Simpelweg omdat dat de lading onvoldoende zou dekken. Gebruers speelt hier namelijk niet louter beroemde jazzstandards als ‘When You wish upon a star’, ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’ en ‘Donna Lee’, hij speelt er ook mee. Bijvoorbeeld door te werken met twee piano’s, waarbij de stemming een kwarttoon verschilt.

Een kenmerk van die standards is dat ze de uitvoerder bijzonder veel vrijheid geven, vaak zo veel dat het origineel nog maar amper te herkennen is. En ook dat bedoelt Gebruers als hij zijn album ‘Playing with Standards’ noemt. Maar het meest opzienbarende is natuurlijk dat werken met twee verschillend gestemde piano’s, waardoor die op zich overbekende stukken nu wel heel bevreemdend klinken. Het doet ons soms meer denken aan hedendaagse gecomponeerde muziek, waar vaker wordt gewerkt met afwijkende stemmingen, dan aan jazz. Gebruers bedoelt echter nog iets anders met zijn titel, daarbij verwijzend naar Michel Montaigne die zich ooit afvroeg of hij nu met zijn kat speelde, of de kat met hem. Naar analogie bespeelt Gebruers de piano, maar bespeelt die ook hem. Kortom, het gaat om de interactie die je als musicus aangaat met je instrument en met de noten.

Seppe Gebruers achter zijn twee piano’s tijdens de opnames van het album in Nona, Mechelen. Foto: björn Helemaal waar, iets dat overigens natuurlijk net zo goed voor de luisteraar geldt. En zeker met die afwijkende stemming. Ik herken de stukken en toch ook weer niet, vind het zeker bijzonder en gedurfd wat Gebruers doet, maar mis tegelijkertijd ook wel weer het vertrouwde. Vraag me dus af of ik wat hier gebeurt louter bijzonder vind, of dat ik het ook mooi vind. En als ik het niet mooi vind, hoe komt dat dan? Omdat ik het niet gewend ben? Als ik die stukken nooit anders dan zo gehoord zou hebben, zou ik er dan ook moeite mee hebben? Al verder luisterend, bemerk ik dat ik eraan wen, iets dat zeker ook komt door het feit dat Gebruers een bijzonder goed pianist is, die deze stukken op zijn eigen, eigenwijze manier zeker recht doet. Zo weet hij zeker de essentie te pakken van ‘I Loves You Porgy’, iets wat ook geldt voor zijn twee versies van ‘La Vie en Rose’, waarbij hij die in de tweede versie combineert met ‘Just a Gigolo’.

Want dat is wat Gebruers ook doet, zo de vrijheid bij het spelen van standards optimaal benuttend, meerdere versies van één en hetzelfde stuk achter elkaar plaatsen. Zo horen we op de eerste schijf drie versies van ‘You And The Night And The Music’ en vinden we maar liefst negen versies van ‘Never Let me Go’ op de tweede schijf. Iedere keer een ander element bij de kop pakkend en opnieuw interpreterend. Zo zit er een prachtige frase in de derde uitvoering van ‘You And The Night And The Music’ waarin Gebruers eindeloos zit te hameren op een bijzonder hoge noot, terwijl hij met zijn andere hand die zwevende melodie speelt. De aanpak van Gebruers is sowieso vaak bijzonder te noemen, hij weet duidelijk iets toe te voegen aan deze vaak overbekende nummers. Al met al een bijzonder album dat het zeker verdiend vaker beluisterd te worden.

eNR106: s/t by Ocean Eddie
Herman te Loo, Jazzflits nr. 395 (27/03/2023)
Ocean Eddie klinkt als een personage in een aflevering van, pakweg, ‘The Sopranos’. De naam van dit Belgische trio heeft echter een heel andere herkomst, die ook iets over de muziek zegt. ‘Eddie’ is Engels voor ‘draaikolk’, en de tracks op dit (naamloze) debuutalbum sleuren je als luisteraar heel veel verschillende kanten op. Het drietal improviseert vanuit kleine brokjes gecomponeerd materiaal, waardoor ieder nummer weer anders van aard is, zeker omdat saxofonist Viktor Perdieus (bekend van Don Kapot), accordeonist Stan Maris en pianist Andreas Bral graag hun traditionele rollen omwisselen. Met ‘slap tongue’ kan de saxofoon een percussie-instrument worden, net zoals de piano dat wordt door het houtwerk te bekloppen. Met lange lijnen klinkt de accordeon dan weer als een gestreken contrabas. Het levert speelse, verrassende muziek op, soms weerbarstig (‘Cluj’), dan weer lyrisch (‘Gioite’) of vriendelijk swingend (‘Ask’). Bovendien hebben de Belgen een fijnzinnig gevoel voor (muzikale) humor, zoals in het grappige ‘The End’, dat nog lang niet het laatste nummer van de plaat is. Het album is digitaal leverbaar, maar ook op cd en op vinyl.

eNR115: Music Might Help by Aligaga
Johan Meurisse, Musiczine (25/03/2023)
The crashing entrance of “Trojan Alligator” immediately tells you ALIGAGA has a story to tell and that they’re eager to share it. It’s a colorful, energetic sound, like a full-on fanfare, with the propulsive bass of Federico Corsini, crisp rhythms of Daniel Jonkers, driving piano of Leonard Steigerswald and the dual sax attack of Jon Sensmeier (alto) and Joos Vandueren (tenor) that is harmonious and exciting as hell. It’s jazz with a rock-ish panache, full of small detours, swirling horns, start/stop-dynamics and some theatrics. It’s a fine business card for this Italian-Belgian-Dutch-German quintet that shares an obvious love for freedom, adventure and some craziness.

ALIGAGA sounds like a band making its debut. Not because of a lack of maturity, but because the music is daring, fresh and hungry like that of a band that has nothing to lose and everything to prove. Actually, Music Might Help is already their fifth album, which is obvious from the way these musicians and guests are perfectly attuned to each other. They are free and flexible around each other, able to change course in the blink of an eye. Occasionally, they also verge closer to pop structures, especially when they also use vocals, like in “Hurrycane” (jazz-meets-triphop?) and the title song, which combine irresistible melodies, both vocal and instrumental, with a jubilant emotionality.

And there’s more. The hypnotizing evolution of “Untranslatable” employs a striking combination of tumbling piano accents and an ultra-tight twin sax attack, while “XIOIOIO” seems to reference Monk’s feinting “Evidence” with a bluesy, slightly tipsy swing of the hips that perhaps reminds you of the magnificent Lounge Lizards. “Summer Drummer” charges with an almost punk-like fierceness, and when former member Taejung Kim returns to add some scratchy guitar in “Chicho Panino (The Return Of The King)”, it’s the start of another tightly executed gem that paves the way for the explorative ballad “Il Mare”, featuring the seductive vocals of Vanesa Diaz Gil.

Music Might Help is a colorful feast of collective creativity. What in the hands of lesser bands could come off as an incoherent statement, is turned into an asset in this case. ALIGAGA sounds like a truly international band, merging styles and ideas with a democratic approach that triggers the imagination and gets better with each successive listen. And if that weren’t already enough to satisfy hungry ears, the cd version adds narrations by Simon Vandueren and his brothers Theun and Joos (plus band improvisations) that enter the realm of magic realism, about a clown called Seyya, “...who created and embodied a new role, a new character and a new persona every next day.” An ideal match for the delightfully shape-shifting music of ALIGAGA.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts (14/03/2023)
Belgian iconoclast pianist Seppe Gebruers plays jazz standards but also plays with the familiar ways of playing those popular songs, imprinted so deeply on our collective (un)consciousness. He plays on vintage two pianos, both pianos tuned a quartertone apart, and both pianos were built way before standards were played, one a Rönisch from 1900 and the second a Schiedmayer from 1868. No wonder he borrows French philosopher Michel de Montaigne saying; «When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not playing with me rather than I with her?»

Therefore, Playing with Standards 1, 2 & 3 is not only a bold musical statement about the possible ways to interpret jazz standards. It is also a philosophical statement about the way we listen to music and process it, attach ourselves to loved melodies and dear emotions, and how we can re-familiarize ourselves anew with these beautiful melodies. Maybe, adopt a more liberating approach of unattachment, almost with a Buddhist spiritual approach, that may allow us to open our ears, minds and souls to more nuanced angles and sharpen our sensitivity, hopefully, not only about music.

The listening experience to this Playing with Standards 1, 2 & 3 is disorienting. It takes time to abandon our listening habits fit for the equal temperament, customized since J.S. Bach’s Das wohltemporierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier), and adapt to Gebruers’ way of playing two pianos tuned to quartertones. At first, the familiar jazz standards sound out of tune, floating in unchartered, elusive ways. But, slowly, Gebruers’ methodical approach uncovers hidden details and surprising beautiful elements of the naked melodies. He deconstructs and reconstructs the jazz standards as archetypal figures which spring up in memories or dreams, sometimes blurry, sometimes clear and shocking. And he tempts the listeners to lose their listening comfort zones in his foggy sonic shapes, where the identity of the original standards loses significance, and with it, the author – the composer and the performer – does too. He insists on playing, again and again, the same standard but transforming it on and on, highlighting aspects of change, unpredictability, uncertainty and fluctuation, forcing the listener to take a more active, even subversive part in the listening experience.

In this challenging project, Gebruers rebels against the common one-directional interaction of music, or of art at all, in which the composer composes a composition, the improviser improvises an improvisation, and the performer performs a performance. He wants to express an exciting multi-directionality approach to art, interacting with an audience, with art history, with instruments and matter, one’s surroundings, other artists, and oneself. When he plays the pianos, the pianos also play with him. He is guided by the resonance of the strings, and by adding quartertones he discovers a whole world of harmonic possibilities. Tonality is brought to the fore and Gebruers can question the tradition of jazz standards he so loves.

Like John Cage before him, Gebruers wants to share the responsibility of interpreting and re-composing the standards with the listeners. «When we listen to music, we also compose: selecting the sounds based on the capacity of the ear, their familiarity and our receptibility, and shaping them into wholes, we are actively involved in the creative process… this process of listening and creating is an unending cycle, perpetually in motion…», he and Hannah Lingier (from the University of Antwerp’s philosophy department) write in the liner notes. «Author and work lose their individuality. The whole exceeds the subject. When playing, there is only interaction, no cat nor I». But there are more conscious listeners and more active human beings, and hopefully, not only about art.

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Herman te Loo, Jazzflits nr. 394 (13/03/2023)
Altsaxofoniste Audrey Lauro was eerder te horen in het trio Lauroshilau, waarvan ik in JF 354 het debuutalbum besprak. Voor de korte cd ‘Sous un Ciel d’Écailles’ dompelde de Brusselse zich onder in de wonderschone akoestiek van de Chapelle du Grand Hospice. In zeven korte stukken laat ze zich kennen als een (solo-) improvisator/componist met een goed gevoel voor spatiëring en ruimte. Ze laat stiltes vallen en bouwt de stukken behoedzaam op met korte frasen. Haar klanktaal bestaat voor een deel uit klassieke saxofoonklanken, maar ze maakt ook dankbaar gebruik van alternatieve technieken. Dat levert een album op dat epigrammatisch aandoet en zich pas na meerdere luistersessies geheel prijs geeft.

eNR076: Tabula Sonorum by Almeida van Dongen
Herman te Loo, Jazzflits nr. 394 (13/03/2023)
De Portugese bassist Gonçalo Almeida kennen we van groepen als Spinifex en Albatre, waarin hij van zich laat horen als een uiterst gedreven muzikant. Ook pianist Bart van Dongen is een zekere dadendrang niet te ontzeggen. Op dit live opgenomen duo-album (op het door Van Dongen gecureerde podium Paviljoen van de Ongehoorde Muziek in Eindhoven) horen we een geheel geïmproviseerde set, maar klinkt het alsof het tweetal composities speelt. Een onmiskenbare invloed daarbij is de minimal music (een titel als ‘Repetitio’ is veelzeggend). Van Dongen hamert repeterende figuren op zijn prepared piano. Almeida strijkt en plukt mee in de onontkoombare, obsessieve stroom muziek, die een hypnotiserende uitwerking heeft.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Stuart Broomer, Ezz-thetics column, Point of Departure Issue 82 - March 2023 (05/03/2023)
A great disorder is an order. Now, A
And B are not like statuary, posed
For a vista in the Louvre. They are things chalked
On the sidewalk so that the pensive man may see.
– Wallace Stevens, “Connoisseur of Chaos”

Belgian pianist Seppe Gebruers’ Playing with Standards (el NEGOCITO Records) is a singularly unusual three-CD set. Even the cover art is unusual, with a kind of wavering, echo printing of the title in black on a silvery metallic field that creates a pulsing three-dimensional effect. That sense of oscillation is central to the music as well. Gebruers has two 19th century grand pianos in his studio. One is tuned to standard A = 440cps; the other has been re-strung and tuned a quarter-tone lower. Gebruers sits between the two pianos, often playing them simultaneously, one with each hand, sometimes focussing his attention on one or the other, sometimes rapidly alternating to share an absurdly dissonant phrase between both.

While such a situation suggests numerous possibilities, here Gebruers devotes himself largely to the canon of 20th century pop hits, many derived from Hollywood films and Broadway shows, staples of conventional jazz performance for much of the music’s history, 1930 to 1960.

Points of Entry:

The use of standards, even composed heads, has diminished significantly in free jazz, only to return recently as part of an exploratory practice. Early free jazz had multiple uses for “standards.” While Ornette Coleman recorded a mood-shifting “Embraceable You,” Cecil Taylor played Ellington tunes with some regularity and great respect in his early recordings, and there’s also an impassioned “Lazy Afternoon” and an exploratory take on a possibly ironically chosen “What’s New?” Eric Dolphy’s initial solo versions of standards could seem like Paganini virtuoso set pieces (e.g., “Tenderly” or “God Bless the Child”) but they would become radically expressionist, like “Love Me.” Sonny Rollins always had an ear for strange blasts from the past (e.g., “Shadow Waltz,” the title taking on fresh significance when it appeared on Freedom Suite, then again, in retrograde, when it became the title of a Jazzland reissue, cleansing Freedom Suite of a title focussed on civil rights), but during his most “free” period, Rollins indulged in radical deconstructions of material like “Dearly Beloved” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Ball.” Both John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, among many, recorded “Summertime.”

The subject of historical repertoire and composition has recently become a focus for exploration in depth for some musicians. Though the material and mode of exploration often differ from “standard” repertoire, the curiosity about form and variation is real. Pat Thomas and Seymour Wright have recently produced brilliant and expanded examinations of earlier material, reworking the themes of Ahmed Abdul-Malik with the quartet أحمد [Ahmed] (along with bassist Joel Grip and drummer Antonin Gerbal) and as Pat Thomas and XT (Paul Abbott and Wright) invoking Cecil Taylor with their treatment of his Akasakila, Attitudes of Preparation (Mountains, Oceans, Trees). Pandelis Karayorgis has just produced a CD devoted to the conjoined music of three great pianists, The Hasaan, Hope & Monk Project (Driff), creating new bonds with the vital tradition. Similarly, Rodrigo Amado has recorded Sweet Freedom, a very free take on Rollins’ Freedom Suite. Gebruers’ work may most resemble Cory Smythe’s radical and extended deconstructions of popular song in the trilogy of Circulate Susanna, Accelerate Every Voice, and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, in all of which Smythe creates eerie textures combining piano and electronic extensions with fractured tunes from the American songbook. Gebruers similarly leads us into a richly complex experience, at once measured in history, nostalgia and cycles per second.

It’s not easy to create genuinely disturbing music in 2023, at least not for those of us who might be styled “connoisseurs of chaos,” but here Seppe Gebruers does as fine a job as anyone might. It’s perhaps the most disturbing piano music I’ve ever heard (and that includes a great deal of “outside” piano music, from Ross Bolleter’s ruined pianos to Conlon Nancarrow’s piano rolls). When I first listened to the three CDs of Playing with Standards, I attributed it to his particular kind of microtonality, those 24 equal quarter tones to the octave. The equally divided 12 tone scale is largely a Western baroque invention to permit harmonic movement – “the well-tempered clavichord” – an averaging of pitch that diverges from the mathematics of earlier scales or systems like the Indian modal system in which tones may be used only in specific ragas, or a modern system like Harry Partch’s vast calculation to create wavering pitches and elisions that embrace much of the world’s music. Then I went to the source. Gebruers’ rigorously even tuning method follows the 20th century Russian composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893-1979), who first opted for the 24 equal intervals during World War 1. I assumed that Wyschnegradsky’s music would be similarly disturbing. It wasn’t. His Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra [1929-30] for four quarter-tone pianos (readily available on Youtube) is quite wonderful, a playground of errant pitches. The significant difference is Gebruer’s decision to combine his pianos with standard pop repertoire, making every note shift from piano A to piano A flat sound like a mistake, a kind of “mistake” that recurs for three hours.

The Music: “It’s Playing Our Song”:

Gebruers goes where the fun house is painful, applying his Frankenstein scale to the still fairly common repertoire of much jazz and one that’s also subject to crooner and chanteuse revivals. Gebruers’ music may be far more disturbing to ears regularly tuned to “Just a Gigolo” and “The Days of Wine and Roses” than even the expressive, whining, drummed bends of Eddie “One String” Jones playing a length of 2x4 construction lumber with a stretched piece of wire “fretted” and struck with sticks.

Gebruers’ liner note begins with a remarkable quotation from the essayist Michel de Montaigne: “When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not playing with me rather than I with her?” From there, Gebruers extrapolates: he plays not only with standards, but with two pianos and with tonality. In each case, these contribute to, participate in, what he will play.

Switch “standard” for “cat” and it appears as a point of doubt, the “standard” also an agency of control, an idea that has been shaping much of jazz for a century, right down to Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles.

There is a sense in which the “standard” will dictate not only its own special status but also a certain subservience imparted to the performer. Here the relationship is at least in part adversarial, Gebruers arming himself with two pianos, one to interrupt, to contradict the stability of the other, to pose a contradictory shadow world. The radical reimagining and combining of pitches is disrupting, undermining, even mocking the notion of a “standard” itself.

Gebruers is most immediately accessible when his invention wanders furthest from the “subject” material, especially if he focuses on one of the pianos, but the stranger adventures shared between the mixed keyboards have their own appeal. While Gebruers liberates both the pianos and pitch, the adversarial relationship here between the standards and the pianos feeds his own creativity. He doesn’t simply play “You and the Night and the Music” for 19 minutes on Disc One: he plays it three times in a row, totalling 19 minutes, each time finding another way to address it through the strange medium, utterly recasting it. Sometimes the standards are fused to interact with each other as well, with different songs moving between two pianos. On Disc Two, he plays “Never Let Me Go,” then “What Is this Thing Called Love?,” then he plays both at once, then he plays “Never Let Me Go” seven times, then “What Is This Thing Called Love?” “Never Let Me Go”? In the earlier versions it can be glacially slow, two chords struck and held to let them hang in the air, gradually disappearing to just their higher harmonics, eventually a refined upper register disappearing in its own dissonance. A later version will increase the tempo, contrasting expansive phrases, first on one piano, then the other, sometime a melody spreading between the pianos.

The constant scale changes (so near and yet so far) strip the songs of any sense of stability, may strip them, as well, of authorship, assigning them to a tone world that is at once a collective space and a no one’s land, a spot in which all sonic decays might gather. The title lists omit authorship and Gebruers suggests the pieces are becoming wholly internalized, part of a collectivized body, declaring in a note “The copyrights to the standards are superfluous, because they are collective memories and copies of copies.”

The two pianos are essentially a friction – ambiguating any kind of singular authority that might consist in any one of the tunings. The scale of the project ultimately erases the irritant of its minutiae, the frictions becoming part of a grand plan, a glitch in the world sharing its physics in the way near frequencies interact. A piece for solo pianos built on largely transient (well, slowly transient) material ultimately achieves a genuinely substantial scale, finding its own insistence on meaning. Minutiae and epic become indistinguishable in this world Gebruers’ has created, a simultaneous experience of all kinds of time.

Preface as Afterword:

An instrumental standard may also function as the echo of a lost text. I was reminded of a musician interpolating a musical phrase as the bearer of its missing lyric when I first played Playing with Standards because of a striking coincidence: the first track is “Playing with ‘When you wish upon a star’” and Gebruers had me right there.

Prior to the Covid lockdown and subsequent retirement, I taught courses in jazz history in a community college’s liberal studies division. The emphasis was as much social / historical as musical, designed for students with a broad age range and varied cultural and educational backgrounds. When I got to the 1950s, there was much to discuss: stylistic change; the conflict between “East Coast”/ “West Coast,” both social circumstances and musical values; the radical shift in representation that came with the long-playing record. I would begin with Miles Davis’s 1954 recording of “Walkin’,” an edgy tune that slowed down bop and had a freshly funky edge, as well as stretching to nearly 14 minutes.

When we got to the 10-minute mark of “Walkin’,” the beginning of Horace Silver’s solo, I’d let it play for another 30 seconds, stop the record and ask if anyone had noticed anything different or strange. Maybe at first just a couple had. Then I’d back up the CD to the relevant passage and play it again, sometimes a couple of times, most students noticing something strange going on with key and tempo, a few more catching the markedly incongruous, interpolated melody. Eventually a few students would identify the sudden insertion of a moment from Walt Disney’s 1940 film Pinocchio: the moment when Jiminy Cricket, that cartoon cricket in top hat and tails, sings:

       When you wish upon a star
       Makes no difference who you are
       Anything your heart desires
       Will come to you.
I won’t labor the contrasts (creative, economic, racial) between the gritty reality reflected in NYC bop and blues and California Disney studio fantasy, or the corresponding gap between work opportunities for New York jazz musicians and West Coast studio musicians, the latter putting out best-selling and poll-winning jazz records in between recording film soundtracks and pop records. Silver’s inserted quotation seems like ideal social comment, invoking worlds in collision with just a few notes.

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Jean - Michel Van Schouwburg, orynx-improvandsounds blogspot (03/03/2023)
Album solo de saxophone alto par une musicienne inspirée, Audrey Lauro, créditée ici tape recorders et composition, outre son sax alto fétiche. Pochette cartonnée noire en série limitée avec deux œuvres du père de l’artiste, André Lauro. L’une reproduite au recto de la pochette, encre noire et pastel et l’autre, insérée et pliée dans celle-ci en sérigraphie sur papier 42 cm / 29,50 cm. Expression sombre, brute, expressionisme abstrait noir où surgissent des formes de la douleur, canevas organique… La musique est enregistrée dans la résonance réverbérante de la Chapelle du Grand Hospice dans le quartier du Béguinage au centre de Bruxelles, haut lieu temporaire de l’avant-garde. Audrey Lauro prend soin de soigner son émission et le débit de son souffle en action , avec l’aide de sons préenregistrés, afin de tirer adroitement parti de l’acoustique du lieu. Sept pièces entre les 2 et 4 minutes et quelques se succèdent avec autant d’assurance que de discrétion. En effet, elle ne cherche pas à souffler tout sur son passage à pleins poumons en mordant l’anche, mais plutôt à nous attirer en douceur dans son processus auditif et parmi les filets de sons qui s’élèvent sous la coupole. Ce qui semble aléatoire est ciselé par une pensée acérée et imprimée/ exprimée par une volonté conquise dans l’intensité d’une intransigeance vivace. Concentrée, elle manie judicieusement la respiration circulaire en alternant accents, notes , battements, croches. Modulant sifflements, suraigus, graves graveleux, résonances, son univers sonore happe l’écoute. Sa manière est quelque peu voisine de l’approche magnétisante de l’inoubliable Gianni Gebbia et on rêve d’entendre ces deux-là en duo de saxophone. S’affirmant déjà il y a plus de quinze ans dans les faubourgs de Marseille et de Bruxelles, Audrey Lauro a déjà sillonné les scènes d’Europe et de New-York, imprimé sa marque à Londres, Stockholm, Vienne, Berlin, avec Gotis Diamandis, Mia Zabelka, etc… Sous un ciel d’écailles, les fruits ne tombent pas au hasard.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Stijn Buyst, Gonzo Circus magazine #173 (28/02/2023)
Seppe Gebruers schuimt al enkele jaren de podia af met twee vleugelpiano's tegelijkertijd. Die twee piano's staan een kwarttoon uit elkaar gestemd, waarmee Gebruers dus dubbel zoveel noten ter beschikking heeft. Simpel gezegd: het traditionele Westerse toonsysteem verdeelt en octaaf in twaalf noten, op exact dezelfde afstand van elkaar; Gebruers stapt uit dat korset en eigent zich 24 noten toe. Met die nieuwverworven notenrijkdom gat hij op 'Playing with standards' drie cd's lang een aantal standards te lijf, klassiekers als 'What Is This Thing Called Love', 'Just Friends' of 'La Vie En Rose'. Gebruers 'speelt met' die standards louter op herinnering, dus soms beperkt hij zich tot enkele flarden uit het origineel. Gebruers mag dan dubbel zoveel noten hebben, hij heeft nog steeds maar twee handen om die klavieren te bespelen en is daardoor gedwongen om zich tot de essentie te beperken: geen pianistiek spierbalgerol, maar mooie, speelse, vaak verstilde, troostende exploraties, met hier en daar en stevige atonale toets, wat dat in dit verband ook nog moge betekenen. Zijn nieuwe toonsysteem dwingt je als luisteraar wel tot wat engagement. Bij een eerste luisterbeurt komt alles heel hard en vervreemdend binnen, maar eens je aan de mogelijkheden gewend bent, kweek je zeebenen. En hoe dieper je het nieuwe universum induikt, hoe natuurliiker en rijker die omgeving gaat voelen. Het gebeurt niet vaak dat we na drie uur muziek snakken naar meer van hetzelfde, maar kijk, aan het eind van dit jaar komen er nog drie vinyplaten uit met vergelijkbaar materiaal en daar kijken we nu al maar uit.

eNR110: Squaring The Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh
Björn Comhaire, Luminous Dash (16/02/2023)
Sommige releases van het immer innovatieve Gentse label el NEGOCITO Records hebben wat extra duiding nodig. Dat is zeker het geval voor de nieuwe van Heleen Van Haegenborgh, Squaring The Circle.

Twee figuren en een irrationeel getal staan centraal op deze release: Heleen Van Haegenborgh (niet geheel onverwacht) en Johan De Wilde (die had je waarschijnlijk niet zien aankomen) en het getal pi (dat had je nog minder zien aankomen).

Heleen is een geschoold pianist en componist die zich heeft toegelegd op hedendaagse muziek en wat ze zelf ‘extended techniques’ noemt. De laatste tijd ging haar tijd vooral naar het componeren van oude en nieuwe muziek en muziek voor theater.

Johan De Wilde is schilder/kunstenaar en vooral gekend voor zijn sleutelwerk Pi dat werd aangekocht door het Gentse SMAK. Een oneindig kunstwerk gebaseerd op – we gaven het al weg – het getal pi. De Wilde begon in 2006 aan het schilderij en werkt er tot op vandaag nog steeds aan verder. De cijfers van het getal pi worden door De Wilde grafisch voorgesteld door verticale, gekleurde strepen. De kleur en de lengte van de streep zijn afhankelijk van het cijfer dat wordt getoond. Zo is het getal 3 een bruine streep, 1 is een korte witte streep, enzovoort. Goed gevonden!

Voor zover de intro, en nu het moeilijke stuk want in Squaring The Circle tracht Van Haegenborgh het werk, of toch een klein deel ervan) van De Wilde om te zetten in klanken. Een album over getallen, met tracktitels die bestaan uit getallen en vooral met heel veel verschillende percussieve instrumenten en een kluts elektronica. De instrumenten worden bespeeld door Aya Suzuki, Anita Cappuccinelli, Lucas Messler en Diego Sáenz Mateo, Van Haegenborgh zelf houdt de elektronica zoveel mogelijk onder controle.

De link tussen schilderkunst en muziek is natuurlijk niet nieuw, ook de latere werken van Piet Mondriaen bijvoorbeeld dragen (jazz) muziek in zich alleen was die nooit echt te horen. Voor Pi brengt Van Haegenborgh daar verandering in. En opnieuw denken we dan: goed gevonden!

Hoe doet ze dat dan precies, een getal dat uit een random reeks cijfers bestaat omzetten in klanken? Wat we te horen krijgen zijn een soort van op mathematica gebaseerde soundscapes die een vertaling zijn van cijfers in geluiden. Een spannend muzikaal experiment dat je minstens anders doet kijken naar het beeld, net zoals het beeld je anders doet luisteren naar de nummers op de plaat. Muziek als abstract kunstwerk dus en daarom alleen al geen makkelijke hap. En toch; en toch… voor je het weet zit je helemaal verstrikt in de serene klankenwereld die Van Haegenborgh en haar muzikanten scheppen en begin je respect te krijgen voor de oneindigheid die schuilgaat achter een klein woordje, een onbenullig, irrationeel getalletje als pi.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Erik Van Der Westen, JazzNu Nederland (15/02/2023)
De van oorsprong Italiaanse, maar in Brussel woonachtige pianist/componist Augusto Pirodda brengt met zijn septet het werk ‘The Monkey and the Monk’ in drie delen uit, alle drie weer verdeeld in verschillende kleinere secties. Zijn ensemble beweegt zich op de rand van free jazz en gecomponeerde muziek met een soms abstract, dan weer meer jazzy klankbeeld. Het is een intens gespeeld repertoire dat vol karakter en passie uit de luidsprekers komt.

De composities zijn spannend, hectisch dan wel verstillend, maar zetten je onherroepelijk aan tot intensief luisteren. Pirodda dwingt zijn medemusici tot participeren in een behoorlijk strak klankbeeld, maar ze gedijen er uitstekend in. De rol van Lynn Cassiers op vocalen en elektronica doet de ensembleklank veel goeds. Saxofonist Ben Sluijs improviseert daarnaast prachtig op de altfluit in het derde Movement, gevolgd door een mooi ensemblestuk dat je heel duidelijk weer meteen een andere richting op brengt.

Ook als pianist zet de bandleider absoluut de toon en je weet soms nauwelijks waar de improvisatie ophoudt en de compositie weer begint. Dat is een prachtige manier van het beleven van deze bijzondere muziek. Het ensemble heeft een uitgesproken bezetting en kleurt spannend en dreigend dan weer melancholiek, maar altijd gewogen en delicaat. Een perfect ensemble voor een festival als bijvoorbeeld November Music, waar deze hoek van de free jazz wel vaker erg goed op zijn plaats is.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Peter De Backer, Het Nieuwsblad (11/02/2023) ***
Jazzconcerto met wisselende stemmingen

Het begint met een wervelende vrije passage, maar de storm gaat al snel weer liggen. Het driedelige ‘concerto for jazz septet’ dat Augusto Pirodda componeerde is heel gevarieerd, met ook veel intiemere passages. De Italiaanse pianist, al vele jaren Brusselaar, stelde een septet samen met boeiende muzikanten van de Belgische jazzscene. Zoals Lynn Cassiers, die met haar ijle stem en eigenzinnige electronica de muziek soms doet zweven. Trompettist Laurent Blondiau is in topvorm, Ben Sluijs excelleert op altsax en fluit (wat een fijne intro bij deel drie!), Sam Comerford kiest voor sax en klarinet en de ritmesectie van bassist Manolo Cabras en drummer Marek Patrman is prima. Pirodda zelf treedt maar een paar keer op de voorgrond: het draait hier om de compositie, waarin hij zijn innerlijke wereld vormgeeft – de nooit eindigende strijd tussen het kind en de volwassene in onszelf. Op de dubbelelpee en de digitale versie van dit album krijgt u er vier soms avontuurlijke, soms intieme solopianostukken van Pirodda bij. Mooi.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Mark Corroto, All About Jazz (07/02/2023) ****
Pianist Seppe Gebruers with his Playing With Standards follows in the footsteps of visual artists who work in xerography, a type of Situationists' détournement that construct art via a photocopier. While the 42 tracks presented over three discs reproduce jazz and pop standards, Gebruers' 'copies' are not reproductions as much as they are the products of multiple passes through his mental photocopier. This process is similar to the art xerography, where copying of a photocopy repeatedly creates a completely new image.

The Belgian Gebruers is an improvising artist and member of the quartet Rorschach with Erik Vermeulen, Marek Patrman and Eric Thielemans, a trio with Hugo Antunes and Paul Lovens, the large ensemble Ifa y Xango, and Bambi Pang Pang with guest Andrew Cyrille. With this solo project he utilizes two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart, a 1900 Rönischto and a Schiedmayer built in 1868, to effect a ghostlike otherworldly sound. In the notes, Gebruers eschews the notion of copyrights to classic standards like "La Vie En Rose," "Donna Lee," and "Bye Bye Blackbird" because he approaches the music as merely memories and "copies of copies."

Gebruers' copies perpetuate the idea of half-conscious impressions of these standards. One hand on each piano delivers dreamlike versions. The closest comparison might be to Thelonious Monk with "Playing With 'Just a Gigolo.'" Like Monk, Gebruers takes the classic piece at a snail's pace, injecting an off-kilter stride keyboard against his microtones. He also delivers multiple versions of several compositions, varying the approach as if having the same dream repeated throughout the varying stages of sleep.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Peter De Backer, De Standaard (07/02/2023)
Jazzconcerto met wisselende stemmingen

Het begint met een wervelende vrije passage, maar de storm gaat al snel weer liggen. Het driedelige ‘concerto for jazz septet’ dat Augusto Pirodda componeerde is heel gevarieerd, met ook veel intiemere passages. De Italiaanse pianist, al vele jaren Brusselaar, stelde een septet samen met boeiende muzikanten van de Belgische jazzscene. Zoals Lynn Cassiers, die met haar ijle stem en eigenzinnige electronica de muziek soms doet zweven. Trompettist Laurent Blondiau is in topvorm, Ben Sluijs excelleert op altsax en fluit (wat een fijne intro bij deel drie!), Sam Comerford kiest voor sax en klarinet en de ritmesectie van bassist Manolo Cabras en drummer Marek Patrman is prima. Pirodda zelf treedt maar een paar keer op de voorgrond: het draait hier om de compositie, waarin hij zijn innerlijke wereld vormgeeft – de nooit eindigende strijd tussen het kind en de volwassene in onszelf. Op de dubbelelpee en de digitale versie van dit album krijgt u er vier soms avontuurlijke, soms intieme solopianostukken van Pirodda bij. Mooi.

eNR116-118: Playing with standards by Seppe Gebruers
Philippe De Cleen, Cutting Edge (06/02/2023) ***
In de Belgische jazzwereld is de jonge pianist/componist en improvisator Seppe Gebruers (°1990) zeker geen onbekende. Eerder liet hij al van zich horen via verschillende collectieven als Ifa Y Xango, Bambi Pang Pang (net als Ifa Y Xango samen met Laurens Smet en Viktor Perdieus) en Antiduo (die laatste in samenwerking met pianist Erik Vermeulen). Gaandeweg ging Gebruers steeds meer op onderzoek uit, immer uit op de exploratie van nieuwe muzikale avonturen. Dat viel zeker live te horen – onder meer door samen te spelen met avant-garde-lui als Paul Lytton en Charlemagne Palestine, maar ook op plaat. Sinds kort ligt ‘Playing with standards’ (uit via het immer intrigerende Gentse El Negocito Records) in de winkels.

Klein verschil, grootse effecten

Het lijkt initieel een erg grillig experiment. Gebruers gaat op ‘Playing with standards’ aan de slag met twee piano’s (meer bepaald een Rönisch uit 1900 en een Schiedmayer uit 1868) waarvan de stemming een kwarttoon verschilt. Een kleine aanpassing die zowaar een hele wereld aan mogelijkheden in zich herbergt. Met zijn nieuw project onderzoekt hij onder meer de relatie tussen muzikant en instrument. Lijkt natuurlijk helemaal voor de hand te liggen, al kan je dan bijvoorbeeld niet om de vraag heen of het dan de pianist is die de piano bespeelt of het de muziek zélf is die met de muzikant aan de haal gaat. Gebruers lijkt op ‘Playing with standards’ het antwoord, zij het dubbelzinnig en een tikkeltje mysterieus, voor zich te laten spreken.

Op de in KC Nona opgenomen set, netjes verdeeld over drie schijfjes muziek, hoor je Gebruers aan de slag gaan met microtonale muziek. Op het programma staan jazz standards en songs die deels in het collectieve geheugen gegrift zitten, maar de luisteraar desalniettemin weten te verrassen. Bijzonder omdat Gebruers zo de grenzen van wat muziek is of kan zijn danig verlegt. Net door de toevoeging van kwarttonen verkrijg je immers een grotere expressie en dus ook veel meer mogelijkheden om zo de emotionele lading te vergroten.

Binnenstebuiten gehaalde herwerkingen

Echt voor de hand liggende muziek is ‘Playing with standards’ niet. Het toont anderzijds wél een erg getalenteerde en bescheiden muzikant die in deze muzikale doctoraatstudie vol lef de uitdaging aangaat. Zo hoor je verschillende klassiekers zoals onder meer het onsterfelijke, door Edith Piaf bekend geraakte ‘La vie en rose’ (hier gekoppeld aan ‘Just a gigolo’) of ‘Bye bye blackbird’ die gedissecteerd en helemaal binnenstebuiten gehaald worden.

Met ‘Playing with standards’ gunt Seppe Gebruers zich best veel creatieve vrijheid bij de herwerkingen, al zijn die vaak zodanig herwerkt, uit elkaar gehaald en de melodische sporen ervan weer bijeengesprokkeld dat er maar slechts een vage hint van de originele composities overblijft. Wie op zoek gaat naar getrouwe versies, is er dus aan voor de moeite. Het maakt wél dat deze muziek prima oorstof is voor luisteraars die hart, ziel en oren blijven veil hebben voor outsider muzikanten en projecten. ‘Playing with standards’ speelt met muzikale conventies en doet de luisteraar verdwalen in een muzikaal universum waar je misschien niet direct weg mee weet, maar die mits enige (langdurige) luisterbereidheid tot zeer knappe resultaten leidt.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Björn Comhaire, Luminous Dash (01/02/2023)
Pianist Augusto Pirodda ziet het graag groots, geen trio of kwartet meer voor de man, het mag deze keer wat meer zijn! Zeven man (m/v/x) dus en dan nog niet van de minste. Samen met Ben Sluijs, Sam Comerford, Laurent Blondiau, Lynn Cassiers, Manolo Cabras, Marek Patrman maakt hij met The Monkey and The Monk een gedetailleerd portret van zijn eigenste binnenste zelve en het interne gevecht tussen volwassen worden en kind blijven.

Hij doet dat in een Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements + The Unbearable Lightness of Freedom, en ja dat klinkt wat opgezwollen.

Maar wat we te horen krijgen is dan ook niet niets. Van bij de First Movement komt die innerlijke strijd van Pirodda namelijk onherroepelijk naar boven geborreld. Tien seconden lang houdt zijn volwassenheid het uit en denken we even dat we met een klassiek bigband nummertje te maken krijgen, maar dan steekt de jeugdige chaos en ongeremdheid de kop op. Lynn Cassiers haalt haar vocale trukendoos boven en we zijn vertrokken voor een 20 minuten durende trip die de ene keer tekeer gaat als een losgeslagen bende vandalen om enkele minuten later helemaal tot inkeer te komen.

Eigenlijk is elk van de drie movements een ep op zich met min of meer afgelijnde nummers die aan mekaar verbonden worden door improvisaties. Waar de basis voor het eerste deel echter wat klassieker klinkt (voor zover die term hier van toepassing is), gaat deel twee een stuk onheilspellender en abstracter van start. Energie is zeker in het begin van dit deel het kernwoord. En net wanneer je je begint af te vragen of en wanneer de batterijen op geraken, neemt een kabbelende piano het over. De stem van Cassiers kleurt de compositie wat later Lynchiaans in en de sfeer wordt ronduit creepy. En zo drijft deel twee 17 minuten lang op een gevoel van ongemak en dreiging.

Hop naar de derde beweging die begint met een meditatieve fluit die onze angsten komt bezweren. En ook wanneer de andere instrumenten invallen, kabbelt deel drie gezapig verder. Tot de Unheimliche zang van Lynn Cassiers onze gemoedsrust zachtjes komt verstoren en we ons langzaamaan klaarmaken voor acht minuten energieke waanzin. De Rilatine begint na een tijdje gelukkig zijn werk te doen en de rust in onze hoofden keert terug.

Maar het is nog niet gedaan want Pirodda trakteert ons ook nog eens op The Unbearable Lightness of Freedom een titel die ongetwijfeld knipoogt naar Milan Kundera. De pianist doet het in deze vierdelige contemplatie alleen met zijn piano. Niet gewoon wat pianospelen natuurlijk, dat zou te simpel zijn. Neen, de snaren worden nu en dan vakkundig mishandelt in de naam van de vrijheid. Compleet anders en een stuk minder van de pot gerukt dan Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements en eigenlijk opnieuw een ep op zich.

The Monkey and The Monk is een vrij monumentaal album, of beter een album + een ep. Dik 75 spannende minuten jazz variërend van solo, trio en kwartet bezettingen tot bigband en van de pot gerukte psychedelica. Vervelen doe je je nooit!

eNR110: Squaring The Circle by Heleen Van Haegenborgh
Peter Margasak, The Best Contemporary Classical on Bandcamp: January 2023 (31/01/2023)
For this sprawling percussion quartet piece, the Belgian pianist and composer Heleen Van Haegenborgh drew inspiration from a large-form drawing by the artist Johan De Wilde entitled Pi, a work that develops every year when De Wilde visits the S.M.A.K. (the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art), the Ghent museum where it is displayed, to add new drawings. Its grid-like design is built from a theoretically endless series of stripes of changing colors and lengths. It's a nice rhyme with the concept of π or "pi," the infinite number used to calculate the area and the circumference of a circle. Van Haegenborgh thickens the plot with the title of this seven-movement work—performed here by GAME, a group comprised of Aya Suzuki, Anita Cappuccinelli, Lucas Messler, and Diego Sáenz Mateo. With an arsenal of more than 70 different percussion devices in addition to electronics, Squaring the Circle vibrates, floats, and writhes through a constantly shifting procession of atmospheres, episodes, and collisions. If there's any kind of narrative structure, I'm not getting it, but the measured flow of layered sound and the way it perpetually billows into fresh terrain is reward enough. The extensive array of percussion never sounds excessive, and the composer is far more interested in vivid evocations and dazzling sonic colors than virtuosity—even though this is anything but a technical cakewalk.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Neri Pollastri, All About Jazz (31/01/2023)
Pianista sardo da molti anni trasferitosi in Belgio, Augusto Pirodda è nel tempo stato autore, con formazioni diverse, di assai pregevoli lavori, l'ultimo dei quali è il singolare duetto con la cantante Emilia Vancini And If You Fall, You Fall. Qui lo troviamo alla guida di un settetto composto, accanto alla ritmica, da tre fiati e una voce, che fa uso anche di elettronica. Il lavoro---definito nel sottotitolo "Concerto per settetto in tre movimenti"—include tutte composizioni del leader (unica eccezione la conclusiva "Gus"), si divide appunto in tre parti, ciascuna a sua volta composita e in forma di suite, ed è caratterizzato da una grande varietà di riferimenti stilistici e scenari sonori, anche in forza delle frequente frammentazione dell'ensemble in gruppi più ristretti.

Già l'avvio, la sezione del primo movimento che dà titolo all'album, si presenta variegato, con un breve tema di sapore tradizionale che si trasforma in un magma free nel quale si innestano la voce e l'elettronica di Lynn Cassiers, con modalità di tipo contemporaneo. Ma già l'abbrivo del frammento successivo, "Ola," vede un lungo e quietissimo solo del clarinetto di Sam Comerford, per poi proseguire, come il successivo ""Moving," in stile più jazzistico, sebbene con la voce ancora su modalità contemporanee. L'ultimo frammento del primo movimento, "Long Time No Sea," è invece una malinconica canzone che sarebbe potuta uscire dalla penna di Annette Peacock, condotta magistralmente in trio dal leader con i suoi collaboratori di lunga data Manolo Cabras al contrabbasso e Marek Patrman alla batteria, sulle linee dei quali s'innestano eccellentemente prima il sax contralto di Ben Sluijs, poi la voce della Cassiers.

La varietà domina poi anche negli altri due movimenti. Nel secondo a un inizio turbolento e collettivo segue un episodio sospeso, "The Irrelevance Of Wanting," nel quale si intrecciano la tromba sordinata di Laurent Blondiau , la voce della Cassiers e un prezioso lavoro sulle corde di Cabras, il tutto su un delicato e articolato procedere del pianoforte, che al termine si prende lo spazio per un magistrale assolo. Il terzo viene invece aperto da un lungo assolo del flauto di Sluijs, al quale si aggiungono in progressione gli altri fiati, che poi lasciano spazio a un nuovo spazio dominato dal pianoforte. I frammenti successivi, invece, tornano ad avere al centro il collettivo, in modo prima ordinato e pacato, poi più libero e irruente, prima di accedere alla conclusione (firmata da Cabras e Laura Mura), quasi una lenta dissolvenza guidata dal pianista assieme a tromba e contrabbasso.

Ambiziosa e moderna, The Monkey And The Monk è un'opera molto ricca di dettagli e sfumature, complessa ma fruibilissima, da scoprire e approfondire attraverso numerosi ascolti.

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Eyal Hareuveni, Salted Peanuts (28/01/2023)
French, Brussels-based experimental alto sax player devotes herself to improvisation practices that constantly question the language of her instrument, its phrasing and possible sonic events. She works according to the motto: «from phrase to sonic event through all kinds of atoms and particles».

Her first solo album Sous un ciel d'écailles (under the sky of scales) was captured at la Chapelle du Grand Hospice in Brussels in February 2022, and features her «four short pieces for metal tube, deflected air column and 6 tape recorders». It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Belgian sound artist Christophe Albertijn.

The four short pieces (and three reprises) use the alto sax as a lively sound generator that talks and sings in unintelligible but highly expressive lingo and produces an array of subtle and abstract sounds, always investigating and challenging its sonorities within the spacious acoustics of the Chapelle du Grand Hospice. Lauro employs her saxophone – literally – as a metal tube that transforms and deflects streams of air, with an impressive command, great focus on detail and poetic sensibility. She extends the innovative work of like-minded sax players like John Butcher and often, her saxophone sounds as if it producing hazy electro-acoustic sounds, but with immediate, concise emotional impact.

Sous un ciel d'écailles becomes an exploratory personal journey of Lauro to renew and revitalize the hidden, fascinating sonic possibilities of the alto sax.

eNR075: Udnie by Giacomo Merega & Camera con Camera
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery New York (27/01/2023)
Although we’ve had hundreds of gigs at our store, we’ve only a small number of electric bass players. The only ones that come to mind are Simon Jermyn, Giacomo Merega and recently Tete Leguia (from Peru). Most bass players who play here play mostly acoustic bass. From time to time, Mr. Merega has contacted me about a new CD and/or doing an in-store performance. In the past I’ve heard Mr. Merega collaborating with Noah Kaplan, Marco Cappelli, Dave Tronzo and Josh Sinton. Most of these folks like to play quietly and often deal with odd intonation. Mr. Merega also worked with guitarist Todd Neufeld in trio with Josh Sinton (from 2020). I’ve had my eye on guitarist Todd Neufeld for several years, since he works with Tyshawn Sorey, Carlo Costa & Samuel Blaser. Ms. Rema Hasumi plays piano in a trio with a live CD out on the GauciMusic label. For this record Ms. Hasumi plays synth and uses her voice, but plays no piano. The first three pieces here are for solo bass guitar, something that we rarely hear about. Mr. Merega has a lovely, warm sound on his bass guitar. The three solo bass pieces stark, thoughtful and rather quaint sounding. Although they are restrained, they do have a certain subtle quality which is I find to be charming. The trio for bass guitar, voice and el guitar has its own unique sound. Mr. Merega’s bass is often at the center played those thoughtful written lines. Ms. Hasumi’s hushed wordless voice and Neufeld’s guitar aoften play some counterpoint to Merega’s insistent bass lines. The voice and guitar often use some haunting swirls weaving in and out of the throbbing bass lines. The overall effect is rather dream-like yet often skeletal. Time slows down and subtly reigns supreme here. At times, Mr. Neufeld plays just a few fragmented notes/sounds, let each note hang in the silence between the other notes. Although Ms. Hasumi sings no words, her voice still conveys some unique feelings of solemnity. I can’t think of any other disc I’ve heard in recent times that sounds quite like this. This is a most modest and still tasty gem!

eNR114: Sous un ciel d'écailles by Audrey Lauro
Björn Comhaire, Luminous Dash (20/01/2023)
Wat gebeurt er als je onder een hemel van schubben staat? Vreemde vraag misschien, maar da's wel de titel van het album van de in Brussel gevestigde saxofonist en componist Audrey Lauro.

Vierentwintig minuten lang tovert Lauro een wonderlijke wereld gebouwd op geluiden die voortspruiten uit een altsaxofoon en verwerkt met een occasionele bandopnemer.

In de titeltrack wordt duidelijk dat de lucht in de wereld Sous Un Ciel d'Écailles bevolkt wordt door meeuwen en ander vliegend materiaal. Of dat lijkt toch zo want ook in de herneming van de titeltrack op het einde van het album krast de saxofoon geluiden bij elkaar die zweven tussen een bedelende marine vogel en schurend metaal.

Even trachten onze gevleugelde vrienden te ontsnappen aan de overkapping in Echappée du dôme. We krijgen echter niet de indruk dat de ontsnappingspoging een groot succes is. De vogels lijken tegen de dome aan te vliegen eerder dan dat ze kunnen wegvluchten. Treurnis en teleurstelling kenmerken Lamellar, hoe zou je zelf zijn! De ingetogen sfeer van Lamellar slaat helemaal om in Dome Speaker waarin de saxofoon van Lauro opgehitste energetische bokkensprongen maakt. Een wanhoopspoging?

In de herneming van Lamellar plooit de sax van Lauro helemaal terug op zichzelf terwijl in de herneming van Echappée du dôme nog maar eens de vleugels worden gestrekt, deze keer met meer stamina. We weten ondertussen echter wel hoe dat gaat aflopen.

Natuurlijk is wat hierboven staat een zelf verzonnen verhaaltje, geen idee wat er door Audrey Lauro's hoofd waarde bij het componeren en spelen van deze muziek. Het geeft echter wel weer hoe ze erin slaagt om met weinig middelen en zonder noemenswaardige melodie, je fantasie te stimuleren en zelf een denkbeeldige invulling te geven aan het album. Audrey Lauro creëert een enigszins gesloten, eigen wereld waarin het aangenaam en veilig toeven is en die wat ons betreft gerust een stuk langer had mogen blijven bestaan dan 24 minuten.

Applaus ook voor het mooie artwork van André Lauro dat zowel de hoes van het album als de poster die bij de cd wordt geleverd siert. Toch maar weer eens een reden om jezelf een fysieke kopie van het album cadeau te doen.

Je kan Sous un ciel d'écailles beluisteren en aankopen via de Bandcamp pagina van het album. Doen!

eNR105: Kobe Van Cauwenberghe's Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton
Franpi Barriaux, Citizen Jazz France (15/01/2023)
Si rares sont les orchestres qui s’approprient la musique et la grammaire braxtonienne sur un album entier - en dehors d’un cercle large de musiciens étasuniens proches de la Tricentric Foundation - notons tout de même, avec un orchestre comme The Locals, que les initiatives se multiplient. Dernier exemple en date, le travail mené depuis 2020 par le guitariste belge Kobe van Cauwenberghe autour de la Ghost Trance Music (GTM), d’abord dans un saisissant solo, puis dans un album publié par les explorateurs de la scène flamande, El Negocito Records. Ghost Trance Septet Plays Anthony Braxton est un double album ambitieux et, pour tout dire, inattendu. Dès la « Composition 255 », que le saxophoniste avait enregistrée notamment dans la GTM (Iridium) 2007, un des enregistrements canoniques du genre, on comprend que Cauwenberghe est pleinement investi dans cette musique et qu’il entraîne ses compagnons dans une opulence de timbres et de chemins, bien aidé en cela par la rythmique solide de Teun Verbruggen (Flat Earth Society, Orchestra Della Luna...) et la basse puissante de Frederick Sakham. Ainsi, le trompettiste - et euphoniumiste - Niels van Heertum est très à son avantage dans cette construction musicale en cercles concentriques, caractéristique du genre, dont le guitariste s’affranchit parfois dans un feulement électrique.

Le petit train de la GTM est bien compris par Kobe van Cauwenberghe. La notion de mouvement inhérente à ce langage est très présente dans les quatre compositions choisies pour ce disque. Dans la 255, on retrouve le parti pris qui avait guidé Kyoko Kitamura dans son coffret GTM Choir en 2019, avec la répétition de phonèmes par les musiciens (ici des nombres) comme pour donner une articulation, et des pistes supplémentaires. Globalement, on perçoit que le travail de la chanteuse proche de Braxton a considérablement influencé le guitariste ; plus sans doute que Mary Halvorson, puisque van Cauwenberghe ne tombe jamais dans l’ornière de calquer son jeu sur celui de sa consœur, pourtant emblématique de la GTM. Mieux, dans la « Composition n°264 » qui semble n’avoir jamais été enregistrée par Braxton lui-même, sa guitare au jeu très tendu, très loin des brisures d’Halvorson, entre dans une mêlée d’où ressortent particulièrement le piano d’Elisa Medirulla et le violon d’Anna Jalving. On louera également le travail de Steven Delannoye, membre de l’Urbex d’Antoine Pierre, qui, bien que très présent, ne vampirise pas les morceaux et ne cherche pas à « jouer Braxton », laissant à Kobe van Cauwenberghe son rôle de maître d’ouvrage.

Cette « Composition n°264 » est un bel exemple du caractère très ouvert et enjoué du travail d’Anthony Braxton, et de la capacité pour des musiciens comme cette belle brochette de Belges d’en devenir de véritables passeurs. La nature de la GTM, c’est de raccrocher, à la manière de wagons, des compositions secondaires, souvent empruntées par des solistes, à un matériau primaire pour créer des multitudes de pistes, un multivers musical où chaque croisement est l’occasion d’un itinéraire inédit. Dans la « Composition n°264 », on retrouve donc notamment la « Composition n°40B » mais aussi la « Composition n°108A », deux pièces maîtresses du fameux quartet des années 80-90 avec Gerry Hemingway et Marilyn Crispell, manière pour Kobe van Cauwenberghe de se situer dans l’œuvre d’un artiste avec qui il a partagé la scène (Anthony Braxton était au piano) à Luxembourg il y a quelques mois. Un travail remarquable qui permettra une fois de plus d’apprécier l’approche idiosyncratique du grand compositeur étasunien.

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Aldo Del Noce, Soundcontest (11/01/2023)
Perveniamo al più recente album, molto diverso, e il cui titolo "The Monkey and the Monk" già ci fornisce indizi e provocazioni.

"The Monkey and The Monk" è il lavoro più coscientemente personale che abbia mai fatto.

Parlo della mia personale battaglia per la conquista' della libertà, la mia libertà mentale.

L'occasione di riuscire ad arrivare prima o poi alla conquista del momento presente, all'accettazione totale della realtà e sopratutto della mia persona. Il mio è comunque un messaggio di speranza.

Ci vuole tempo ma ce la si può fare.

Credo che sia più importante dire questo piuttosto che dilungarmi sulla complessità tecnica sia a livello strutturale che compositivo che di orchestrazione che caratterizza questo "Concerto in tre movimenti" per scrivere il quale ho potuto contare su un universo di opzioni timbriche, vista la ricchezza di strumenti che avevo a disposizione.

Una cosa che posso dire è che, dopo un po' che ci lavoravo, mi sono reso conto che stavo in qualche modo cercando di riprodurre il mio approccio nel piano solo in un ensemble più grande.

Ovvero la possibilità di giocare anche con le strutture e non solo con le armonie ed il tempo.

Ma farlo da solo è semplice. Per farlo con altri musicisti bisogna scrivere, ed è ciò che ho fatto.

Solo dopo un po' mi sono accorto che stavo scrivendo una sorta di Concerto in più movimenti.

In effetti è già tutto un programma la copertina "a sorpresa"

Si, la copertina ha una doppia veste grafica, con un astuccio plastificato.

È una piccola sorpresa, ed ha anche un certo significato. Vuole essere un messaggio positivo di speranza.

Vedi la testa con tutto quel casino dentro, tiri fuori il disco ed il casino scompare, ed appare un fiore.

A volte basta un semplice gesto come un respiro, o togliere un disco dalla sua bustina, per fermare il flusso di pensieri. E una volta che riesci a farlo scopri che hai dentro la bellezza di un fiore.

Insomma, non sei così brutto come pensi: è questo il significato della copertina.

Il disco ci permette inoltre di parlare almeno in parte della tua terra d'adozione e del milieu di talenti con cui collabori e che hai potuto osservare.

Spenderei intanto due parole sui musicisti che fanno parte del mio settetto.

Lynn Cassiers, Laurent Blondiau, Riccardo Luppi (nel disco Ben Sluijs), Sam Comerford, Manolo Cabras e Marek Patrman. Grandi musicisti capaci di essere leader e gregari, che hanno arricchito notevolmente la mia musica capendone e rispettandone a pieno l'intenzione. Sono onorato di averli nel mio ensemble.

Per quanto riguarda la mia terra d'adozione, il Belgio, non ci sono veramente venuto. Piuttosto ci sono capitato.

Prima ero in fuga dalla Sardegna, poi andavo via dall'Olanda. Il Belgio in quel momento era l'opzione migliore e da allora non ho avuto nessuna ragione per andarmene, a parte la voglia di andare a vivere nella casa che ho in campagna in Sardegna, ma per il momento la vedo dura.

La scena musicale qui è estremamente variegata. C'è di tutto e il contrario di tutto. E non c'è il mare intorno! C'e' sempre qualche cosa che succede. Vivere a Bruxelles presenta i suoi vantaggi.

Ci sono tanti musicisti che vengono da ogni parte del mondo. Diversi universi che possono coesistere.

eNR106: s/t by Ocean Eddie
Tor Hammerø, Nettavisen Nyheter Norway (08/01/2023)
Belgisk frigang.
Blant alle de sakene jeg kan lite om er belgisk samtidsjazz om ikke i ei særstilling, så i alle fall høyt på lista. Trioen Ocean Eddie gjør et strålende forsøk på å rydde opp i dette avsindige misforholdet.

Hørt om pianisten og harmoniumisten Andreas Bral, trekkspilleren Stan Maris og saksofonisten Viktor Perdieus? Hvis svaret er nei, så er vi alle fall to. Siden jeg er så privilegert at jeg blir fora med musikk fra de fleste verdenshjørner, så er veien likevel ganske kort for min del til at jeg får stifta bekjentskap med musikere og musikk som ellers høyst sannsynlig ville ha gått meg hus forbi.

Her har vi med en unik kammertrio å gjøre med ei høyst sjelden besetning. Alle har bidratt som låtskrivere, enten hver for seg eller sammen.

Det har ført til stemninger, strøminger og/eller samtaler mellom tre likeverdige partnere som aldri lar det flyte ut. De elleve låtene er relativt korte - når de har sagt det som er å si så er samtalen over.

Noe av musikken er usedvanlig melodisk, nedpå og vakker - noe er åpent, fritt og søkende. Hele tida er det uansett retning i det Ocean Eddie holder på med.

Dette har blitt et fint, overraskende og annerledes møte. Herlig!

eNR101: The Monkey and The Monk – Concerto for Jazz Septet in 3 Movements by Augusto Pirodda Septet
Bruce Lee Gallanter, the Downtown Music Gallery NY (06/01/2023)
None of the musicians here are very well known, although each can be found by on other discs for Clean Feed (Cassiers), JazzwerkStatt (Pirodda), DeWerf (Sluijs) and Negocito (Charles Gayle Trio). Ms. Cassiers has two fine discs out on Clean Feed which also include the bass & drums from this project. The music on the first movement is tight, spirited and well-written (by Mr. Pirodda, perhaps). The first section featuring some quick, spinning freeish horns (2 saxes & trumpet), with crazed electronic enhanced vocals over a spirited, daredevil piano-led rhythm team. On “Movement Two”, things calm down to a haunting, ballad-like reverie with soft, spacious, sensuous vocals over a skeletal somber cushion. On the third movement, Mr. Pirodda’s piano plays this one insistent lick at the center while each horn takes a solo in turn. Ms. Cassiers’ sly voice doubles up the piano line in the latter part of this section, and then it morphs into a haunting ballad with some especially enchanting vocals near the end. A good deal of preparation has gone into the making of this disc since all of it flows together nicely with each movement shifting between written themes, freeish bits and a number of well-inspired solos. If any of you have a problem with vocals, let me say this: Ms. Cassiers’ electronically enhanced voice is kept to a minimum and fits these pieces like all of the members of the septet just right. She only gets one chance to solo at length and her altered voice sounds like a ghost from another dimension.

eNR106: s/t by Ocean Eddie
Björn Comhaire, Luminous Dash (04/01/2023)
Waar twee oceanische stromingen samenkomen, durft al eens een draaikolk of anderzijds circulair stromende watermassa ontstaan. Massa’s die vechten om de overhand te halen, een (heel klein) beetje zoals wanneer je verschillende instrumenten die in hetzelfde timbre- en toonbereik zitten, in competitie laat gaan met elkaar. Of da’s toch het idee achter de debuutplaat van trio Ocean Eddie waarin Stan Maris (accordeon), Andreas Bral (piano, harmonium) en Viktor Perdieus (saxofoon).

Drie instrumenten die al eens flink durven overlappen en een combinatie die in de jazz wereld dan ook niet echt euh… populair is. Maar zoals dat gaat in diezelfde jazz wereld, is er altijd wel weer een groepje muzikanten dat dit soort ogenschijnlijke incompatibiliteiten eerder ziet als een uitnodiging dan als iets dat te vermijden valt.

Met z’n drieën gaan de heren van Ocean Eddie op zoek naar manieren om vredig samen te leven in het middentoongebied en daarvoor hanteren ze allerlei strategieën. De ene keer wisselen de instrumenten mekaar af en de andere keer spelen ze in harmonie of gaan ze zelfs op zoek naar onderlinge interferenties. Maar evengoed speelt de piano in de hogere octaven terwijl de saxofoon of het accordeon de lagere octaven opzoekt en vice versa. En wie zegt dat een instrument altijd tonen moet voorbrengen, een beetje geklop en geschuur kan ook best interessant klinken!

Je hoort het al, Ocean Eddie houdt wel van experiment en dat de drie zich geamuseerd hebben tijdens de opnames van dit album is er dan ook aan te horen. Soms vertrekt een nummer vanuit een melodie waarop, in klassieke jazz traditie, duchtig wordt geïmproviseerd. Maar niet overal ligt het zo simpel en vormt een geluid, een gevoel of een beeld de aanleiding voor iets wat we eerder als een klankschets dan als een traditioneel ‘lied’ zouden bestempelen.

Beslist een band om eens live aan het werk te zien