103

Luc Houtkamp: In Chicago

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Luc Houtkamp: In Chicago
It’s interesting how one’s path of jazz listening arrives at a particular artist. My personal discovery of Netherlands-born saxophonist Luc Houtkamp came via Chicago. Well, actually Germany and Peter Brötzmann. The 1960s free-jazz flame-thrower was travelling to the windy city to play a series of concerts and mentioned the thriving scene that grew up around Ken Vandermark. My discovery of Vandermark’s music led me to his influences in Europe and Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. You see the Chicago scene draws heavily from Dutch jazz (thanks to among others, John Corbett) and the likes of Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, and Willem Breuker. All three have been associates of Brötzmann, at one time or another. The Chicago connection to Amsterdam has led my ears to the fantastic Luc Houtkamp.

Then Luc Houtkamp visited Chicago and the circle seemed complete. This recording from 1997 finds him in company of long time DKV, NRG and Vandermark 5 bassist Kent Kessler and Chicago drummer Michael Zerang (Brötzmann Tentet). Houtkamp, a largely self-taught saxophone practitioner, is also a composer of electronic and computer interfacing for improvisers. His records are available on his own Dutch X-OR label.

Here he sticks to an all-acoustic attack by tenor saxophone. I’d describe his playing as a kinder, gentler Brötzmann blended with a more imaginative James Carter. His extended saxophone techniques of squawking, slap tongue, and multi-phonics are metered out in a patient almost relaxed manner. The trio shows their Chicago influences with the rolling “State Street Blues” and the romping “Pershing Ballroom Jump” both taking a page from Fred Anderson’s book. Houtkamp can be muscular when it’s called for and quietly pensive at times. You have to like the way this trio mixes the two. On “Jug (Without Dodo)” they move away from a defined pulse yet make a coherent highly interactive statement. Houtkamp throughout paces his performance with perfect timing and restrained outrageousness.

Finding this voice might be the highlight of my year. I’m sure I would have got here sooner or later as America’s creative musicians reach out further for allies and more importantly new influences.

Entropy Stereo Recordings can be reached here: [email protected]

Pershing Ballroom Jump; Jug (Without Dodo); Flow Chart; New Wabash; Who Is Claude McLin?; Richard Davis At DuSable; State Street Blues.

Luc Houtkamp - Tenor Saxophone; Kent Kessler - Bass; Michael Zerang - Drums.

Personnel

Luc Houtkamp.

Album information

Title: In Chicago | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Entropy Stereo

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu
Read Golden Daffodil
Golden Daffodil
Leslie Beukelman
Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom
Read Hard Bop
Hard Bop
Eric Binder
Read How Can We Wake?
How Can We Wake?
Josephine Davies
Read Blue Has A Range
Blue Has A Range
Steve Cardenas

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.