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Despite propaganda to the contrary, creative music was very much alive and kicking in the mid-seventies. Major American labels dumped Joe Henderson and The Art Ensemble of Chicago for electric jazz-fusion and pop, forcing improvising artists into the Loft scene, and to self-produced small (actually tiny) label production. In the days before the internet and with virtually no distribution, very little of what was produced had a chance to reach adventurous music listeners.
Despite its obscurity (to American audiences) the Dutch music scene at the BIMhuis in Amsterdam thrived. Music writer Kevin Whitehead has chronicled much of Amsterdam’s scene in the 1998 book New Dutch Swing (Billboard Books) and John Corbett’s Unheard Music Series has re-released many long out-of-print recordings. Together these two American writers have helped to re-write history for those artists written out of Mr. Burn’s Jazz. Perhaps more important, the work that has come to our ears is a link between the modern creative music makers such as Ken Vandermark, William Parker, Tim Berne, Charles Gayle and the sixties masters Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, and Han Bennink.
The two tracks, nearly 52-minutes of music, heard here were originally released on KGB records in 1976. This document, like others from this period were pressed in such small batches, they almost immediately when out-of-print. This time capsule finds the little known (today) Kees Hazevoet group Haazz and Company jacking-up a dense session of high energy jazz. The session begins with a chorus of intertwined snake-calling clarinets, soon to give way to random drumbeats and lengthier passages of sound. The band of the Bennink brothers and Peter Brotzmann soon push the envelope into what probably was a room-emptying frenzy. Brotzmann’s saxophone playing then as now rings with his distinctive powerful barrel-chested rushes.
The music drops-out in places as the crude editing of the time allows. This document with it’s energy passages and deft interplay of chopping piano and calm stretches, stands on equal footing with Brotzmann’s Machine Gun and Willem Breuker’s work.
Kees Hazevoet may have quit music in 1979 for a science career, but his legacy of creativity and influence on the Dutch scene persists. Please also read Derek Taylor’s review of this recording in last months AllAboutJazz.com reviews.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.