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by John Sharpe
Dutch reedman Ab Baars goes out of his way to avoid sentiment in his playing. He plots courses that veer willfully from melodic to shrill, but always remains in control. The most striking aspect of Fish-scale Sunrise, named after a poem by Wallace Stevens, is how much this approach to improvising is reflected in his composing too. Inspired by AACM reedman Roscoe Mitchell, with who he performed in 1986, and by his association with the enfant terrible of the Dutch ...read more
by Mark Corroto
Mike Doughty of the rock band Soul Coughing wrote the lyric is Chicago, Is Not Chicago..." to the song of the same name, followed by a man cuts in half, just like he snaps a pencil..." The same could be said of And She Speaks -A Collection Of Ballads by saxophonist / clarinetist Ab Baars. This solo recording, with each song dedicated to a different composer or musician, is devotional without an obligation to be faithful. Johnny Green's 1930 jazz ...read more
by Mark Corroto
There used to be something about the Dutch jazz scene that made it stand out from American jazz, British jazz, and well, other European happenings. The New Dutch Swing," to borrow the title from Kevin Whitehead's 1998 book, comprised an irreverent brand of music making, with little regard to tradition. Dutch players leaned heavily on Dada and absurdism as a counterpoint to the American tendency to regard jazz as a classical art form.I say there used to be ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Hef offers something truly special for fans of the nettlier side of modern jazz. Ab Baars and Terrie Ex, two stars of the Dutch underground, meet here for the kind of interplay that revives one's faith in free improvisation. Their natural yet sophisticated conversation makes this set work in an unusually fine fashion.
Certainly neither saxophonist/clarinetist Baars nor guitarist Ex believes in holding back. The opener, Oud Over," makes this point abundantly clear with bright, searing attacks from ...read more