643

The Flatlands Collective: Maatjes

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Named for the geographic similarity between the American Mid-West and the Netherlands, the Flatlands Collective is a mid-sized ensemble of Chicago-based musicians operating under the leadership of Dutch saxophonist and electronics manipulator Jorrit Dijkstra. A seamless integration of nostalgic European melodies, futuristic minimalism, and spontaneous free jazz, Dijkstra's cantilevered compositions unveil layers of detailed nuance on Maatjes, the sophomore effort of this international collective.

The ensemble's core line-up is virtually unchanged since their debut, Gnomade (Skycap, 2006). Clarinetist James Falzone, trombonist Jeb Bishop, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, and bassist Jason Roebke make return appearances, with drummer Tim Mulvenna replaced by Frank Rosaly. Some of the Windy City's finest improvisers, these internationally astute Chicagoans handle Dijkstra's mercurial Dutch aesthetic with empathetic aplomb, trafficking in a wild and wooly blend of harmonious free improvisation.

Dijkstra's multifaceted writing employs elements of free improvisation, yet generally embraces conventional tonal centers that are more melodious than dissonant. Inspired by the seminal work of Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and LaMonte Young, "Partially Overdone" and "In D Flat Minor" each explore a different aspect of the minimalist tradition. The former unfolds at a glacial pace, ushering in waves of dense, chromatic overtones. The later knits interlocking segments into a hypnotic contrapuntal theme, spotlighting the leader's intervallic alto—enhanced by a buzzing sheet metal mute.

Unveiling opulent harmonies, "Micro Mood" revels in the honeyed melodies of the old-world while "The Gate" and "Druil" each paint atmospheric tone poems; one portrays San Francisco at night, the other Dijkstra's homeland.

Exploring more assertive territory, "Phil's Tesora" features a rousing anthem that careens with rock-like intensity over quicksilver rhythms, while the muscular dirge "Mission Rocker" vacillates in pitch and dynamics. The rambunctious improvisation "Maatjes 2" is even more intense, pitting acoustic and electric instruments against one another in a torrid bout of call and response.

While all of the members of the collective make stirring contributions, it is the leader's fervid alto and analog synthesizer that make the greatest impressions. Dijkstra pairs his Lyricon synth with Lonberg-Holm's EFX pedals, conjuring undulating waves of feedback and crackling noise loops, most notably on the groovy Sun Ra dedication, "Scirocco Song."

Tuneful yet adventurous, Maatjes reveals the missing link between Chicago jazz and the famously capricious Dutch jazz scene. Dijkstra's Flatlands Collective is a vision of the future of jazz, today.


Track Listing: Mission Rocker; Micro Mood; Partially Overdone; Maatjes 1; Druil; Phil's Tesora; The Gate; Maatjes 2; In D Flat Minor; Scirocco Song.

Personnel: Jorrit Dijkstra: alto saxophone, Lyricon, analog synthesizer; James Falzone: clarinet; Jeb Bishop: trombone; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, analog electronics; Jason Roebke: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums, percussion.

Title: Maatjes | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Steelonious" CD/LP/Track Review Steelonious
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 6, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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