Kees Hazevoet is something of a forgotten forefather in Dutch creative improvised music and John Corbett’s liners, which accompany this disc, along with the music on hand, do worlds of good toward illuminating his place as fomenter to the burgeoning scene. Witnessing the impact of the Albert Ayler trio firsthand in 1964 Hazevoet’s outlook changed significantly sparking a lasting partnership with fellow Dutchmen Willem Breuker, Hans Dulfer (Candy’s father!) and Han and Peter Bennink, among others. Strong bonds also solidified between these Dutch players and German counterparts like Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. A true multi-national collective, the group dusted off and placed under the magnifying glass on this reissue is impressive both in terms of instrumentation and its obscurity. Dutch, German and expatriate South African contingents are all represented in a raucous ensemble that thumbs its collective nose at convention and constraint.
Distilled from numerous hours of concert music recorded at Amsterdam’s BIMhuis the two performances present two halves of an unruly whole. The title piece opens in flood of spiraling reeds (predominately clarinets) and staccato shots from Moholo’s snare. Rising and falling in waves with crests of dissonant ensemble energy match troughs of comparatively calm individual improvisation the piece retains a startling density for much of its nearly half hour duration. During the passages where the horns Moholo and Bennink make a formidable pair on the percussionary front and the amount of noise they manage to scare leaves the exact architectures of their respective kits almost entirely to listener interpretation. Peter Bennink’s Uilleann pipes, which float above Hazevoet’s darting clusters make for another unusual ingredient in the tumbling mix of chaotic voices.
Stitched together through a series of ragged edits both pieces exhibit Frankenstein-like anatomy and the terse segues between sections mesh appropriately with the irregular contours of the music. The colorfully titled “Agitprop Bounce” charts a supersonic vertical path in its first few minutes arcing up through a tempest of scurrilous horns and ending up skipping across a marching rhythm supplied by Dyani and Moholo. Picking out who’s doing what amongst the thicket of horns can initially be daunting but Brötzmann soon barks out a hair-raising shout announcing his unmistakable presence. Later the momentum diffuses and the music unfurls in a halo of radiating horn voicings with Hazevoet’s keys and the drum kits of Moholo and Bennink boiling at the center. Following a tidal tack similar to the first piece the second is pocked by periods of relative calm amidst protracted aggression. Toward the close Brötzmann’s hoarse tenor splashes violently in a choppy sea of piano, clarinets and percussion ceasing surprisingly with a gradual fade into silence.
Hazevot eventually left improvised music entirely turning his sights to a distinguished career in academia. His absence from the Dutch scene derailed further musical additions to his resume, but rare records like this one attest that his contributions were far from fleeting. A solid fit for the self-proclaimed Unheard Music Series mission it’s a program deserving of newfound circulation.
Unheard Music on the web: http://www.atavistic.com