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Dino Betti van der Noot: Here Comes Springtime


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: Dino Betti van der Noot: Here Comes Springtime
There are some musicians whose instrument is the orchestra. They hear multiple voices, textures, harmonic designs. And if they are jazz composers, they hear the sweet and pungent tension between the orchestra and the improvising soloist. If, moreover, they are composers interested in more than self-gratification, they hear, as they write, particular players so that the ultimate scores reflect a range of individual personalities, each of them telling their own stories as well as that of the composer.

Dino Betti van der Noot is an easeful, authoritative writer for jazz orchestra. Everything is in place, the right place. There is no straining for effect, no pompous flourishes. Indeed, there is a natural grace in the way his melodies develop, as well as in the evident joy he takes in mixing colors and dynamics. He's not out to prove how trendy he is or "serious" he is. He just loves to play the orchestra, to give pleasure, to take pleasure. His further aim is to create music that appeals both to experienced jazz listener and to people who don't listen in categories but rather turn to whatever pleases them. He succeeds, as few are able to, in reaching the wider audience without diluting the jazz in his work, without watering it into "fusion."

Betti van der Noot has been shaping big bands in Italy since 1970. He began with a group of mostly amateurs and then more and more professionals came to try his scores. He has a dual identity. By day he is the chairman of a cooly proficient Milan ad agency, B Communications, and by night, he is the writer of musical tales which he then brings to life through directing a big band. As for his musical schooling, he is an alumnus of the Berklee School of Music in Boston and Italian schools of music. The jazz musicians he lists as his favorites reveal the scope of his musical imagination: Ellington, Kenton, Tristano, Basie, Herman, Lewis, Davis, Mingus, Monk, Evans, Gaslini, Gibbs, Ayler, Coltrane.

With regard to the music in this diversely lyrical set, Eterni sono gli atti d'amore is a piece he started working on almost thirty years ago. The title comes from a short poem of his, "Don't mind whether a love story be forever.

Acts of love are forever. It's in five sections. The first begins as the theme is exposed by alto sax and cello, in unison, after which altoist Donald Harrison continues improvising on the story. In the third section, flugelhornist Rudy Brass converses vigorously with the orchestra. There follows a sensuous vocal by Linda Wesley, with cello obbligato by Luca Perreca; and in the last section, a contemplative Rudy Brass returns.

The composer suggests that in listening to Just The Way We Live Tonight you consider certain kind of moments as "part of a circus show." He continues: "Trombones plus E-flat clarinet (supported by tuba and an African water drum) dissolve the vamp intro into a desperate collective improvisation. Then the theme is exposed in all its ambiguity of an apparently easy listening piece, with Gianluigi Trovesi (E-flat clarinet) and Donald Harrison (soprano sax) filling in. Hugo Heredia's powerful baritone sax solos in a dynamic and dramatic way. Then the circus mood comes back with the clowny duet of Donald Harrison (soprano saxophone) and Luca Bonvini (trombone). The orchestra continues on the same track up the re-exposition of the theme. That is, in a cold and mechanical way. It stops suddenly and a long, lonely piano note closes the piece."

I would suggest you pay particular attention to clarinetist Trovesi whom the composer describes as "probably the finest and most original European clarinetist." Listen to his tone on the usually recalcitrant E-flat clarinet. Betti van der Noot explain that "October's Dream" + "Caro Arrigo" "is a double composition. Sections one and three were inspired by the mixed feelings (delicate love, introspection, loneliness) I took home from a recent journey in Japan. Just three instruments interplay, mainly on written parts: Alto flute, bass and percussion. After the first 16-bar theme, bassist Franco Ambrosetti's (flugelhorn) solo, increasingly supported by the orchestral interplay that introduces two more themes. It ends in a sort of out-of-control cry. Back to another slow section in which the theme is introduced again in a reflective way, played in unison by soprano and cello. A short, intense improvisation by pianist Mitchel Forman leads to the conclusion."

Both in its parts and as a probing multi-dimensional whole, this orchestral set by Dino Betti van der Noot is a personal memoir of times, places and internal sea changes while also being an act of collective story-telling by an orchestra of international jazz players who add their own memories, desires and anticipations to those of the composer. And, since the music does not try to be part of any current trend, it will last beyond current trends.

—Nat Hentoff

Liner Notes copyright © 2023 Dino Betti van der Noot.

Here Comes Springtime can be purchased here.

Track Listing

Eterni Sono Gli Atti D'amore (Acts Of Love Are Forever); Just The Way We Live Tonight; October's Dream / Caro Arrigo (Dear Arrigo) / October's Dream; Here Comes Springtime; So Far Away From You.


Dino Betti van der Noot: composer / conductor; Donald Harrison: saxophone, alto; Rudy Brass: trumpet; Franco Ambrosetti: trumpet; Mike Burke: trumpet; Bob Cunningham: bass; Daniel Humair: drums; Linda Wesley: voice / vocals; Mitchel Forman: keyboards; Gianluigi Trovesi: saxophone.

Additional Instrumentation

Nerino Spampinato, Luigi Tisserant, trumpets & flugelhorns; Luca Bonvini, Rodolfo Meledandri, Ron Burton, Claudio Nisi, trombones; Hugo Heredia, Leandro Prete, Peppino De Mico, Sergio Rigon, reeds & flutes; Luca Perreca, cello; Gianni Farè, vibes; Daniel Humair, drums; Luis Agudo, percussion.

Album information

Title: Here Comes Springtime | Year Released: 1985 | Record Label: Soul Note

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