Life is short, jazz is eternal, and at the cabaret the show must go on. When the house band is the POW Ensemble, the scene could best be described as Dada Star Wars meets Spike Jones in 1931 Berlin.
Actually, Homage to Hazard Live was captured in Amsterdam at Bimhuis in June of 2008. Organizer, band member and composer/saxophonist Luc Houtkamp is keen on the experimentation of the New York Downtown scene of the 1990s, where improvising artists freely borrowed from theatre, poetry and jazz to create performance pieces that were something beyond music, and beyond category.
Houtkamp's twist upon this catholic music entails the introduction of his software, in the form of a computer-based interactive improvisation with three musicians who are also wielding electronics, making for some interesting new sounds, which take the form of squiggling, dancing electronic burps, pops and static as engineered cabaret. Coupled with poetry, song and scatting, the audience at the Bimhuis was certainly entertained.
POW Ensemble formed in 2001, then released The Thirteen Bar Blues (X-OR, 2003) and Birdsongs from Inside the Egg (X-OR, 2006). Houtkamp draws a varying cast of musicians, a tap dancer, a DJ and writers to create performances that mix music with theater as a kind of Monty Python-meets-serious improvisational artists. Children's songs are fair game, as are free jazz and some noir fiction.
The music is boisterous, entertaining, and quite satisfying.
Track Listing: Het behoeft uiteraard geen toelichting aan wie u dat de danken heeft...; Security; Rimbaudrambo; 12:13 am - a Room; This Is to Those; The Loser; The Tempest; One, Two, Maybe Three; Mood Swings; It's a Risky World; The Fence; It's a Risky World.
Personnel: Han Buhrs: vocals, live electronics; Guy Harries: vocals, computer, flute, fife, keyboards; Nina Hitz: cello; Luc Houtkamp: tenor saxophone, computer, live electronics, computer-controlled percussion; Wolter Wierbos: trombone, vocals; Joseph Bowie: trombone, vocals.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.