We can no longer refer to the music and creative Amsterdam scene with the title coined by author Kevin Whitehead as the New Dutch Swing. His 1998 book of the same name described the origins of the free jazz movement in The Netherlands and its now legendary masters such as Misha Mengelberg, Willem Breuker, Han Bennink, Eric Boeren, Ab Baars, Ig Henneman, Ernst Reijseger and Wilbert De Joode. Maybe a better label could be New Dutch Kings & Queens, as the Amsterdam scene has become THE sovereign state of all things free and musicians from all over the globe have migrated to become citizens of this most creative scene. In the 1960s and 70s the likes of Evan Parker, Peter Brötzmann, Michael Moore, and Sean Bergin found inspiration in this Dutch community. Today the same body politic is welcoming the likes of John Dikeman, Frank Rosaly, Luis Vicente, and many other emigres into this creative community.
Add to the Amsterdam population Argentinian saxophonist Ada Rave and Canadian bassist Aaron Lumley, two-thirds of the free jazz trio Bioluminus. The third member, Onno Govaert is an in-demand drummer who can be heard in The Attic with Gonçalo Almeida and Rodrigo Amado, Luís Vicente 4tet, Cactus Truck with Jasper Stadhouders and John Dikeman and the Kaja Draksler Octet with Rave. All three musicians interchange and find new combinations within Amsterdam's creative kingdom. Bioluminus is one such creative unit, and phenomenal at that.
This live recording from May and June, 2022 (hence the titles) is the trio's first release. It simmers, seethes, and boils over multiple times in this hour plus of music. There is muscular approach heard throughout, not just in Rave's tenor but also in the assertive time kept by Lumley and the energy drumming of Govaert. These two lengthy pieces wander (in the positive aspects of the word) through energy fields and meditative passages. Rave first pauses her onslaught for Lumley's bowed expressions and Govaert's sonic experimentations, picking up again with her tenor now altered with objects inserted to disorder the sound. The trio favors an continual flow of energy throughout comprised of an eternal push/pull between players. A drum solo is followed by upper register explorations of both soprano saxophone and bass before a kind of slow drag blues is teased out by the trio. They create a similar type of momentum you might expect from an Evan Parker performance, but with a more aggressive edge. The trio performs the shampoo lather/rinse/repeat with their second track. The dirtier their sound gets, the cleaner the listening experience.
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