Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

531

Michiel Borstlap: Eldorado

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
From rendering fusion super group Weather Report in an all-acoustic setting on Body Acoustic (Universal, 2005) to in-the-moment duets with drummer Bill Bruford, Dutch keyboardist Michiel Borstlap has few, if any, limits. Gramercy Park (Universal, 1999) was a remarkable set of acoustic and electric music that tackled classical repertoire, jazz standards and spontaneous composition. On Eldorado, Borstlap delivers an electrifyingly groove-happy set that picks up where Herbie Hancock's mid-1970s albums like Man-Child (Columbia, 1975) and later albums like Dis Is Da Drum (Mercury, 1994) left off.



Borstlap channels Hancock from the first notes of the seriously funky "Hubbah" where, despite its simple changes, Borstlap's heavily effected electric piano takes things slightly out, creating a nervous tension and bristling energy. "Hubbah" segues into the similarly grooved "Happy Mummy" where, like Hancock, Borstlap proves there's a place for acoustic piano amidst programmed beats, synthesized sounds and vocal vamps.



But it's not all about Hancock; Borstlap references other influences, including a hint of Chick Corea's Spanish predilections on "Cherish Your Sunshine." But with co-producer/co-writer Reinder Van Zalk's programming, it goes places even the broadminded Corea has yet to go. Bassist Boudewijn Lucas is a key component of this and all other tracks with the exception of "Hubbah" and "Happy Mummy," doing some channeling of his own with some very Jaco-ish playing on "Cherish." Borstlap's falsetto vocals, the occasional pianistic outburst, and Van Zalk's astute editing create a synchronous collage of groove and texture, form with room for free expression built in.



While it's possible to grab individual tracks for attention—the high energy "Pretty Baby," the scratch-heavy and occasionally horn-driven "Jambition," the greasy "Café Van Leeuwen," or the relentless pulse of "Deja- Vu"—Eldorado is an album meant to be absorbed in one sitting—or one set in a dance club. Borstlap and Van Zalk clearly understand pacing; following the one-two punch of "Hubbah" and "Happy Mummy," "Café Van Leeuwen" maintains the funk but drops the pace, while "Saturn" is a piece of trance- inducting electronica, filled with processed beats, looped electric piano and Borstlap's definitive inside/outside, classically informed but jazz harmonized acoustic piano.



That the reference points for Eldorado are worn so happily on Borstlap's sleeve is exactly what gives the album its distinction. They're undeniable, but so, too, is Borstlap's own multifaceted approach which, when combined with Van Zalk's detailed work, is unmistakable. Atmospherics and a European focus featured with actress Verane Pick's monologue on "Oh Look..The..The..The" give the album its own complexion, as does Xenia Meuer's operatic vocal on the romantic classicism of "The Music We Are," which segues into the futuristic, beat-heavy "The Music We'll Be," where orchestral ambience is retained but moved onto the dance floor.



It's rare for an album to be booty shaking, resonant and deeply intelligent, but Borstlap does it all on Eldorado. It won't appeal to purists, but it's sure to find an audience unafraid to find adventurous improvisation integrated within a carefully constructed weave of rhythm and sonics.


Track Listing: Hubbah; Happy Mummy; Caf

Personnel: Michiel Borstlap: Nord Stage 88, Yamaha Grand Piano, CF III, Minimoog, Wurlitzer, vocals; Reinder Van Zalk: producer, programmer, mixer; Edsilia Rombley: lead vocals (15); Xenia Meuer: vocals (11); Boudewijn Lucas: bass guitar (3-14); Hugo Den Oudsten: bass guitar (1, 2); Piet Jan de Bel: banjo (1), guitar (2, 3); Tomboxx: rap (13); Sanne Van Hek: trumpet (6, 13); Mark Putz: string arrangement (5); Julia Philippens: lead violin (11); Erik Kooger: drum samples (13), brushes (15); Actress Verane Pick: featured (6); Sylvi Lane: backing vocals (10).

Title: Eldorado | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Gramercy Park Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar19Tue
Michiel Borstlap
Stadsschouwburg Middelburg
Middelburg, Netherlands
Apr25Thu
Michiel Borstlap
Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie
Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Martian's Playground Album Reviews
The Martian's Playground
By Geno Thackara
January 24, 2019
Read Ex Nihilo Album Reviews
Ex Nihilo
By Chris May
January 24, 2019
Read Path Of Totality Album Reviews
Path Of Totality
By Roger Farbey
January 24, 2019
Read Time Like This Album Reviews
Time Like This
By John Sharpe
January 24, 2019
Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019