The Amsterdam based ICP Orchestra (meaning improvisation defined as an “instant composing pool”) can best be described to Americans as Carl Stalling directs the Duke Ellington Orchestra playing chamber music. Pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink lead their brand of instant composing. Mengelberg, a master of the music of both Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk, is the poster-child for the Dutch creative scene. He prefers odd angular melodies and playing spin-the-dial for differing styles. Drummer Han Bennink seems to never repeat himself, swinging an eccentric beat and landing a roundhouse punch from the listeners proverbial blind side.
The ICP’s latest disc, Oh, My Dog recorded in June of this past year, follows the most excellent 1999 Jubilee Varia. But where that recording was organized as two suites, this Dog hunts here, there, and everywhere. Bennink, as he has done so often with his Clusone trio, leaps from brass bands to Latin influences mixing Kurt Weill with the Modern Jazz Quartet. This band plays a Sousa-like march on “A Close Encounter with Charles’s Country Band,” only to be followed with a buttoned-down chamber piece, “A la Russe.” The genius of the ICP is presenting cartoon music without the animation. Tristan Honsinger’s “Oh me Deer!” plays like the score from a post-apocalypse West Side Story with and urban pulse and a nod to American theatre circa 1958. The band frowns on the seriousness of music, opting to set their instruments aside to whistle or bark out the title track. Their dog sounds accompany the Albert Ayler-like march, quickly deconstructs into the vocalist calling for his dog, Kafka, who runs to chase a deer. Either look deeper for meaning, or just enjoy the ride.
Track Listing: Write down Exactly; A Close Encounter with Charles
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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