Sunday, March 5, 2017

Misha Mengelberg Piet Noordijk Quartet - 2011 - Journey

Misha Mengelberg Piet Noordijk Quartet

01. Driekusman Total Loss 10:26
02. Peer's Counting Song 6:28
03. Journey 14:35
04. Sugar 'N Spice 9:29
05. The Leopard 13:15

Alto Saxophone – Piet Noordijk
Double Bass – Rob Langereis
Drums – Han Bennink
Piano – Misha Mengelberg
Trumpet - Ted Curson (Tracks 4 & 5)

Recently the fifth album in a great series of unique live recordings was released by the former Dutch Jazz Archive (now: MCN) in its series Jazz at the Concertgebouw. Previous releases contained live recordings by Chet Baker ( 1955), Gerry Mulligan ( 1956), J.J. Johnson ( 1957) and Sara Vaughan (1958), all originally recorded by Lou Van Rees, then Dutch most well-known producer. The Mengelberg-Noordijk album is the first one which features a Dutch quartet, a legendary group with had a certain presence: the Misha Mengelberg - Piet Noordijk Quartet.
Front of the booklet of Misha Mengelberg-Piet Noordijk Quartet - Journey ( MCN 1101)

The quartet features some well known Dutch jazz musicians, like Piet Noordijk on alto saxophone, Misha Mengelberg at the piano, Rob Langereis double bass and Han Bennink on drums. On two tracks the US trumpet player Ted Curson, who was guest player in both the Mengelberg-Noordijk group as in the big band, to be scheduled in the second part of the concert: Boy's Big Band. This band, which belonged to the more progressive big bands in Holland in those days, was directed by Boy Edgar and featured, like a real all-star band, the crème de la crème of Dutch jazz ( including Piet Noordijk and saxophone player Theo Loevendie).
During the 1960s, Ben Zwanink explains in the liner notes (both in English and in Dutch), Jazz in Holland was in crisis ...... the interest in jazz was declining; audience numbers were dwindling, many jazz clubs were closing down and the engagements for musicians were few and far between. The Rhythm and Blues and beat music was popular and the youth were labelled here in Holland as Vetkuiven ( or Dijkers particular in Amsterdam) or Nozems and the beat music fans dressed like The Beatles. Jazz music wasn't hip anymore.
Han Bennink ( photo: Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant ( 16th October 1969) (source: Krantenbank Zeeland)

In the 1960s I was a teenager and, although I visited concerts by bands like The Bintangs or the local famed Delta Generation ( they performed in places where the girls were) not really interested in the new popular artists: I didn't hold strong views about, who was the best: The Beatles or the Stones. I joined around 1970 concerts, were improvised music was played by musicians like Willem Breuker, Theo Loevendie, Leo Cuypers, Maarten van Regteren Altena or Willem van Manen, scheduled in places like Goes ( De Veste) and Middelburg (Stadsschouwburg) by the Stichting Nieuwe Muziek. I remember Han Bennink as one of the most striking musicians that came to this part of the Netherlands. I'm sure I didn't understand what they were playing and I didn't know the ins and outs about what happened in the Dutch Jazz scene of the 1960s - see it as reaching puberty - opposing against the establishment.

The Concertgebouw concert by the Misha Mengelberg-Piet Noordijk Quartet was not the place to be for the young beat and rock and roll generation, but the jazz fans welcomed it. The two leaders of the band Misha Mengelberg and Piet Noordijk were each other's poles apart. Piet Noordijk started his career in the 1950s as an all-round musician, who was fascinated by the music of Charlie Parker. He started his career in the band of his brother Kees who was his eerste en beste leraar ( (my) first and best teacher). He worked with Ger Van Leeuwen, Pia Beck and Frans Poptie before he joined Misha Mengelberg in 1964.

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