Pianist Keez Hazevoet is the Marzette Watts of Holland. The key behind this ridiculous statement is what propels Atavistic's Unheard Music Series (UMS). Knowing that many key documents of avant-garde jazz are unknown to the folks who would most like to hear them, the people in charge of the UMS have seen fit to reissue choice examples on CD. The early part of the catalogue established Atavistic's serious intentions by bringing to light previously unissued work by the Globe Unity Orchestra and Alex von Schlippenbach's mid-'70s quartet. They could have stopped there and slept comfortably. They continued with work by Han Bennink, Clifford Thornton, the John Tchicai/Irene Schweizer Group, Sun Ra, the Mount Everest Trio and others. Most recent releases come for the wealth of German FMP LPs (most of which are necessary for an understanding of European free improv) but the vision of the UMS includes other countries: Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and most recently Holland with Hazevoet's debut as a leader (and second of his albums released by the UMS).
Hazevoet was a minor figure in the Dutch free scene but traveled with weighty company. The bizarre comparison to American saxophonist Marzette Watts is valid because both came and went in jazz relatively quickly and both featured musicians on their records who would continue to have long fruitful careers. Maybe not Kris Wanders, the alto sax on Pleasure, but the rhythm section of Arjen Gorter (bass) and Louis Moholo (drums) has logged many years in music; Gorter as a member of Willem Breuker's Kollektief and Moholo in the Brotherhood of Breath and numerous other Europrov groups.
Hazevoet's record, originally released in an extremely limited pressing by Peace Records, is one of those mythical records you hear about, perhaps see once for hundreds of dollars and wonder if it can live up to its billing. Free jazz in Europe at the time was a wide open endeavor, ranging from Manfred Schoof and Schlippenbach's classical leanings to Peter Br'tzmann's violent blindsiding (and that's just in Germany). Holland took a more restrained tack that left room for the strong personalities of players like Bennink and Breuker. Pleasure has some of this restraint and interesting textures deriving from Moholo's different sensibility. Any record that he played on usually would go up a notch or two. Hazevoet knew this and used him again for the other UMS reissue, Unlawful Noise. Whereas that release was well-titled, Pleasure is more satisfying, going through a range of moods on its three compositions. It is most likely these were sketches fleshed out by the group but that is enough to lend the music some structure and distinguish it from many other records of the period.
Is the album worth the hundred you would have to pay to get it in its original form (assuming you even could)? This is a conversation for an economist, as collectible worth is rarely an aesthetic evaluation. If you have a thing for European progressive music and have experience with any or all of these players, treat Pleasure like unheard Beatles demoscontext is everything, and there was too much activity in Europe when young musicians were finding their identity to not welcome another piece of the puzzle.
[in September 2007, Mr. Hazevoet wrote in with the following comments:
Thank you for reviewing Pleasure. I don't follow these things and only recently saw it. Please allow me to correct a few factual errors. The compositions were not "likely made by the group" on the spot. I wrote them and had been playing them long before. I didn't "use" Louis Moholo again for Unlawful Noise because I knew he was such a good drummer. Louis was a regular member of my groups from 1970 to 1979 and we played together on hundreds of occasions. Apart from this, when we played at the BimHuis (of which I was one of the founding members) that night which later resulted in Unlawful Noise, I wasn't even aware that it was being recorded. It was just another gig, one of many. As for my "quick come and go on the free jazz scene" - I actively played in public from 1963 to 1980 - there are quite a few musicians of fame who's presence was of shorter duration. I played on Willem Breuker's first record and started playing with Han Bennink in 1967, a collaboration which lasted until 1980. A 1978 duo record with Han is due on UMS shortly. I had known Arjen Gorter since schooldays, even before he played bass (he played guitar and took up the bass in 1966).
Since leaving the music I have become a Professor of Zoology, first at the University of Amsterdam, the Nethrlands, and now at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.]
Personnel: Louis Moholo: Drums;
Arjen Gorter: Bass;
Kees Hazevoet: Clarinet, Piano, Trumpet;
Kris Wanders: Alto Sax.