Maatjes, the second recording by the Flatlands Collective, captures the ensemble at the end of a European tour, with the group dynamic very well-tuned to alto saxophonist/composer Jorrit Dijkstra's compelling charts. Chicagoans Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jeb Bishop (trombone), James Falzone (clarinet), Jason Roebke (bass) and Frank Rosaly (drums) all work together to celebrate the various micro-dialogues that emerge from the Collective's highly evocative composing and very distinguished improvisational vocabularies.
A long view of the Clean Feed disc reveals a compelling overall structure. The disc's opener, "Mission Rocker," evolves from free improvisation into a wry, sauntering bass and drums groove over which the ensemble drapes creaking, warped phrases. Moving forward through the next few tracks, the breadth of the ensemble vibe is extreme. The expansive sense of time in "Partially Overdone" moves on to the sort of hiccupping long-tones of the lumbering 7/4 groove of "In D Flat Minor" to the driving energy and colliding sonorities in "Druil" and "Micro Mood." The delicate, cyclical melody of "Scirocco Song" reveals a deeper level of dramatic flare, ending the record with a subtlety and sentimentality that seems to look back to the auspicious intentions laid out at the beginning.
During the ensemble's visit to Brooklyn's Issue Project Room in late 2008, the sextet broke apart to reveal unaccompanied solos, duets or trios. "Micro Mood" featured a maelstrom of abrupt changes in texture and dynamics. Later, in the second set, tunes were often woven together, where a wonderful unaccompanied solo from Lonberg-Holm gradually enfolded into "Dipje," a reggae-inflected tune with a very happening groove from Roebke and Rosaly serving as the focal point, around which the ensemble placed tight but minimal melodic figures and solos. The character of Issue Project Room was ideal for electro-acoustic sonic imaging and Lonberg-Holm and Dijkstra's abstract electronic soundscapes often interwove pleasantly with the extended techniques from the rest of the ensemble. Elsewhere, Roebke's controlled feedback experiments ratcheted up the energy level and brought the ensemble to a new level of abstraction.
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.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.