402

Han Bennink: Hazentijd

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Han Bennink

Hazentijd

Data Images

2010

Han Bennink, Dutch master drummer and one of the godfathers of European improvised music, may not need an introduction, but this insightful documentary by director Jellie Dekker and producer Dick Lucas—who together made the documentary on another godfather of Dutch improvised music, pianist Misha Mengelberg—proves that most people probably have plenty more to learn about Bennink.

Bennink has gained a reputation as a natural, intuitive drummer who can easily blur the distinction between traditional, swinging jazz and free improvised jazz. A versatile and imaginative musician with excellent timing, who can find rhythm in the most basic elements, he is also an artist with an idiosyncratic visual language. And he is also an artist who creates alone, silently and surrounded by nature, always in the moment, always modest and generous. That is why the creators of this film called Bennink an "Indian from the Netherlands."

The documentary depicts Bennink moving from modern jazz to free-improvised music. From playing with the young, fast blowing tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin—while still following Art Blakey's words: "beat the drums and crash the cymbals"—to much more open, fast-changing rhythms and sounds. Bennink, always tidy with ironed clothes, has simply followed his instincts and challenged and surprised everyone around him.

Reed player Peter Brötzmann says that while other musicians opted for alcohol, Bennink chose milk, and saxophonist Evan Parker adds that Bennink's clothes fitted the changing times much more than that of his companions. Fellow-countryman Ernst Glerum relates how Bennink enjoys entertaining all kind of audiences, whether they are children in kindergartens or high-brow grown-ups in art galleries.

There are insightful scenes about the early days of the magical partnership with Misha Mengelberg, including clips of the ICP Orchestra, showing how the two complete each other. Bennink is tall, muscular and energetic, while the bear-like Mengelberg plays with slow, economical gestures. But the shared interplay is always playful, imbued with tons of humor and irony.

We get a glimpse, too, of the daily life of Bennink: the modest man who rides home on his bicycle after a gig; the nature-lover who likes to row a small boat on a river near his home, and who walks round the Banff Centre in Canada, finding art everywhere in the scenery, and is inspired by bird calls and squeaking beavers.

Watching this beautiful documentary evinces a big smile. A smile of appreciation for an artist who has found a way to connect his imagination, creativity, nature, the moment and the ever-fascinated audience.

Production Notes: 70 minutes, including 7 extra features documenting Han Bennink collaborations with Misha Mengelberg, Tobias Delius Quartet, ICP Orchestra with Dave Douglas and with Peter Brötzmann, Guss Janssen, Royal Improvisers Orchestra and performing solo.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read La La Land DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD/Film Reviews Jeff Beck: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2017
Read Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At Carnegie Hall DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At Carnegie Hall" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: The Royal Festival Hall (1962) | Live At...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Man of the World: The Peter Green Story" DVD/Film Reviews Man of the World: The Peter Green Story
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015" DVD/Film Reviews Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Bob Dylan: No Direction Home - Deluxe 10th Anniversary  Edition" DVD/Film Reviews Bob Dylan: No Direction Home - Deluxe 10th Anniversary ...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "I Called Him Morgan by Kasper Collin" DVD/Film Reviews I Called Him Morgan by Kasper Collin
by Christine Connallon
Published: March 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.