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Individually these gentlemen have had more than a hand or two in redefining modern jazz, yet as a unit and under the auspices of the “Instant Composers Pool Orchestra” – this band has been knocking them dead during live gigs over the years while remaining criminally under recorded. Jubilee Varia is the new “ICP Orchestra” release recorded live in Zurich, Switzerland 1997.
Primarily a Dutch outfit featuring pianist Misha Mengelberg, drummer Han Bennink, cellist Ernst Reijseger, California born woodwind specialist Michael Moore and others, the “ICP Orchestra” present two multi-part suites as they offer the listener a hodgepodge of textures, sustained movement and captivating lyricism. The festivities commence with the group composition titled, “Jubilee Varia” Suite as Mengelberg and Bennink partake in an eight minute largely improvised duet based upon what may seem to some, as a childlike or simplistic theme for all of its innocence. Here, the framework is established which segues into fascinating and engagingly furious dialogue among cellists Ernst Reijseger and Tristan Honsinger as the horn section appear in part three featuring the sweet-toned clarinet work of Michael Moore. Construction and thematic development is of a climactic nature on this piece, as the musicians excel at building upon motifs yet integrating these concepts into the grand scheme of things...........
Misha Mengelberg’s “Jealousy Suite” comprises the second half of the recording which encompasses resplendent themes, lush melodies, an at times neo-classical approach, ample room for the soloists and subtle intricacies all with a few surprises and sharp soloing. Additional highlights are the Viennese waltz-like motifs, fiery phrasing by trombonist Wolter Wierbos on “Next Subject” and overall heated soloing by various members of the band as they turn the intensity level up a few notches at the opportune intervals. On the final movement, “Rollo I”, the band convey a strong dose of Spanish Bravado as Charlie Haden’s famed “Liberation Music Orchestra” came to mind.
On Jubilee Varia everyone contributes. However, the approach is quite methodical through strong compositions and timely improvisation. In some instances the “ICP Orchestra” seem to parallel a small militia who have received their orders and are ready for battle; hence, a consummate, first class effort by one of the great ensembles in modern jazz! * * * * ½
Misha Mengelberg; Piano: Michael Moore; Clarinet, Alto Saxophone: Ab Baars; Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone: Thomas Heberer; Trumpet: Wolter Wierbos; Trombone: Ernst Reijseger; Cello: Tristan Honsinger; Cello: Ernst Glerum; Contrabass: Han Bennink; Drums