Friday, October 28, 2016

Mototeru Takagi - 1975 - Mosura Freight!

Mototeru Takagi 
Mosura Freight!

01. Estado
02. Bird Song
03. Love Song
04. People In Sorrow

Bass – Takashi Tokuhiro
Drums – Tsutomu Ono
Reeds – Mototeru Tak

Recorded at Jazz Street 52, Kitakyushu, 28 March 1975.
All music by Mototeru Takagi except "People in Sorrow," by Art Ensemble of Chicago.

This is the BOMB of Japanese free jazz… the free jazz that makes your ear melts, your soul blister and your jaw drop down the floor.
Ripping! And astonishingly beautiful. Takagi in absolute top form taking the music beyond it all.
Takagi was one of the most interesting Japanese players and died way too young, but contributed on a couple of Japanese free jazz masterpieces over the course of his short lived life.
lbums such as Now We Create  with the quartet of Masahiko Togashi is nothing else then a life changing document… and the beast 2 to 10 saxophone with drummer Sabu Toyozumi is forever one of the most hard hitting documents of freer jazz and expressions all time, worldfuckinwide.
Mosure Freight is a classic musically. Blowing hard… and harder…
Interesting enough paying respect to his collegues in Art Ensemble of Chicago, by playing their classic People in Sorrow in a beautiful take.

The trio is really interacting as a trio and this album is really worth looking for… hard to get these days, but not impossible.

But Takagi is the main focus here… his tone, piercing but yet warm, bears traces of Reverend Frank Wright and early Brötzmann to mind. But he developed his totally unique way of playing that unmistakingly only can be him. His tone is rawer then sushi, chewing the reeds down to molecules… fasten your seatbelts… No tenor sax has ever sounded this dirty and distorted. completely KICKIN music on the record especially and a very very unique player all together!!! a CLASSIC!

Motoharu Yoshizawa - Mototeru Takagi Duo - 1994 - Deap Sea (1969.10.09)

Motoharu Yoshizawa - Mototeru Takagi Duo 
Deap Sea (1969.10.09)

01 Lonly Woman 19:14
02 Lacy's Out East 15:10
03 Four Unites 21:36
04 Deep Sea 10:18

Mototeru Takagi: Tenor Sax
Mototeru Takagi: Bass, Celo

I have very little info on this album... I like it!
Could anyone add something to it... please!

Masahiko Togashi & Mototeru Takagi - 1969 - Isolation

Masahiko Togashi & Mototeru Takagi 

01. Isolation I 16:48
02. Isolation II 19:05

Drums, Vibraphone, Marimba, Timpani, Percussion – Masahiko Togashi
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Mototeru Takagi

Recorded 19 December, 1969. Soundtrack to Masao Adachi's "Renzoku satsujinma".

This early japanese Free Jazz LP was originally recorded for a movie by Masao Adachi - "Renzoku Shasatsuma (Ryakusho)". But it certainly works without the pictures.

Masahiko Togashi:

Japanese jazz drummer and percussionist. Born March 22, 1940; died August 22, 2007.

Togashi was acclaimed as a jazz drummer from his teens, when he played in Sadao Watanabe's group. He was a pivotal figure alongside Masahiko Sato, Masayuki Takayanagi and Yosuke Yamashita in the development of free jazz in Japan in the late 1960's.

In 1969 Togashi lost the use of his legs in an accident, but he developed a new drum-kit and returned to playing eighteen months later.

Togashi has collaborated with many overseas jazzmen, including Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Charlie Haden, Mal Waldron and Paul Bley. His best known record in Japan is probably 1975's "Spiritual Nature".

As his physical condition worsened Togashi retired from active playing in 2002, devoting himself to composition and painting.

Masahiko Satoh - 1979 - All In, All Out

Masahiko Satoh 
1979 -
All In, All Out

01 - Sapajou Walk (06:17)
02 - Grama Grass (07:35)
03 - Salamander (06:26)
04 - Moth Ball (04:25)
05 - Thus The Song Passed Out Of Their Mind (07:11)
06 - Fallout (08:18)

Masahiko Satoh - acoustic piano, Rhodes piano, Korg synthesizer, percussion
Dave Liebman - soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, alto flute
Ryo Kawasaki - electric bass guitar
Francisco Centeno - electric bass
Harvey Mason - drums
Rubens Bassini - percussion
Randy Brecker - trumpet
Tom Malone - trombone
Dave Taylor - bass trombone

This unkown gem - that will amaze casual listeners and still conquer regular ones - stars both Masahiko Sato's talent in displaying a wide varriety of tones and fusion scales and Dave Liebman's fierce and intense saxophone playing. Sometimes "All-in, All-Out" recalls Weather Report's edgy style of abstract fusion, and Sato's work here serves that purpose very well,which means, painting soundscapes simultaneously dreamy and cerebral. "Sapajou Walk" begins like an orchestrated blues lament, but by the time we reach "Fallout", the last track, we realize that this is not just a pop-oriented jazz thing, but a trip to something much deeper. This is truly great stuff, so check it out.

Masahiko Satoh - 1973 - Dema

Masahiko Satoh 

01. Prologue (1:18)
02. Information 1 - Information 21 (16:43)
03. Information 22 - Information 49 (15:10)
04. Epilogue (2:36)

- Masahiko Satoh & Garando
(Masahiko Satoh / piano, synthesizer
Keiki Midorikawa / wood bass
Hozumi Tanaka / drums, percussion)

- Kohsuke Ichihara & All Stars
(Kohsuke Ichihara / flute, alto flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Takao Naoi / electric guitar
Kimio Mizutani / electric guitar
Akira Ishikawa / drums
Masaoki Terakawa / electric bass
Hideo Ichikawa / electric piano)

Originally released on CBS-Sony in 1973.
Includes insert of notes in Japanese, and copy of original text.

Another Masahiko SATOH's gem released in 1973 ... very surprising that CBS / Sony, a Japanese big major record label, could make an excellent decision to shoot such an aggressive progressive album at that moment.
This "Dema" Project got started with Kohsuke ICHIHARA's occasional idea - Kohsuke had been much immersed in a short novel titled Dema, written by Yasutaka TSUTSUI, and he brought this novel to Masahiko SATOH for persuading him to product a suite for Dema story ' also Masahiko got interested in this project and composed some material for it. In 1973 Kohsuke ICHIHARA All Stars and Masahiko SATOH & Garandoh came together for the sake of a music novel called 'Dema', that was released via a Japanese big major record label CBS / Sony (and re-released as a CD album via Disk Union, a Japanese CD distributor).

As their biography says, the "bizarre" project had started over Kohsuke's curiosity about Yasutaka's novel named "Dema (Rumours)". I have not read this novel yet (for the reason that I'm afraid I have something of preconception or bias toward this album) but such a painful tension via this album can be enough for us to realize where the original story goes. The short opening "Prologue" is a quiet omen, with weird synthesizer sounds, percussive rumbles, dark guitar bazookas. And the tensive basis cannot be altered upon the following stage "Information 1 - Information 22" ... Cool but burning keyboard sound-fire, dry and achy flute knife edge suddenly attack against our ears, as if a terrible alien with dreadful weapons would run around here and there under the dark sky. And furthermore, in the middle part the riffs pick upper-tempo, just like an activity of the strange murderer (actually, this novel can go ahead as this, can't it?) Until the very last of the track, we cannot avoid chilling by the burning keyboard iceberg and sharp-edged & self-assertive bass explosion ... but amazingly comfortable in such a refined air.

In the next scene "Information 23 - Information 49", this aggressiveness gets more extensive ... quiet piano, scattered saxophones and flute, ethnic but not simple (remarkably complex) percussion ... all instruments come and attack against our brain as though they should lie next by next on top of each other upon this stage. Just when a noisy synthesizer sound darkness comes here, we listeners (and also the players?) can do nothing about this "rumour" finally ... Under serious and cynical loudness, psychedelic piano, sharp-edged violin, avantgarde loud saxophones, fuzzy messy bass assertion, and synthesizer darkness - all popped up and invade easily into our mind that expand more easily. Upon the last track "Epilogue", there's nothing except vacant atmosphere, which can be made by plaintive synthesizer streams and sad string eyes.

Masahiko Satoh - 1971 - Penetration

Masahiko Satoh

01. Poise 21:53
02. Route 29E 18:51

Bass – Yasuo Arakawa
Drums – Masahiko Ozu
Piano – Masahiko Sato

Recorded at Berlin Jazz Festival November 6, 1971.

Two long tracks by the Masahiko Sato Trio live in Berlin; both are great pieces of avant-free jazz with prominent ring-modulated piano.

Masahiko Sato, Peter Warren, Pierre Favre - 1971 - Trinity

Masahiko Sato, Peter Warren, Pierre Favre

01. Trinity 22:40
02. Far Trip 22:45

Bass – Peter Warren
Percussion – Pierre Favre
Piano, Synthesizer [Modulator] – Masahiko Sato

Recorded live at the Studio 70, Munich, Germany. Introduction by Peter Warren.

This was the 5th release on the Fledgling ENJA label ,who back then were among the few independent s putting out challenging material , in a totally free vein.

This is the sort of gig that a label like Intakt would now put out.
2 side long Totally free improvisations rooted in the traditions of jazz language , and the Darmstadt Avant guard of the day.

Sato's subtle use of ring modulator , is very reminiscent of the sound effects on Alois Kontarskys piano , on the original recording of Stockhausen's Mantra.
All three Musicians are still active as far as i know , though both Sato and Warren have since the 70's focused more on making modern mainstream Jazz orientated recordings.

Pierre Favre continues as an occasional free improviser , composer and band leader in rewarding challenging territory. A lot of his current projects can be found on the aforementioned Intakt label ,which he co founded with Irene Schweizer.

Masahiko Sato & Yosuke Yamashita - 1973 - Piano Duo

Masahiko Sato & Yosuke Yamashita
Piano Duo

01. Piano Duo Part I (22:10)
02. Piano Duo Part II (18:30)

Masahiko Sato: piano (right channel)
Yosuke Yamashita: piano (left channel)

Recorded live at Asahi Seimei Hall, Tokyo, December 25, 1973

Yamashita studied piano as a child and has played professionally since the age of 17. He attended Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo from 1962-1967 and played for a time with saxophonist Sadao Watanabe. Yamashita formed a bassless trio in 1969; his Bill Evans-influenced style expanded to include free jazz, a rather radical step given the conservatism of the Japanese jazz scene at the time. Beginning in the '70s, his trio toured widely and played many major European events, including the Berlin and Montreux jazz festivals. Yamashita's U.S. debut was at the 1979 Newport Jazz Festival; he also recorded with members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago around that time. In the '80s, Yamashita began playing frequent solo concerts. He also branched out stylistically, playing with Japanese and Korean percussionists and incorporating adaptations of classical works into his repertoire. Yamashita has worked with many internationally famous artists, including Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Bill Laswell, Mal Waldron, and Lester Bowie. In 1985, he made the first of what would come to be annual appearances at Sweet Basil night club in New York. He formed an "American" trio with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Pheeroan akLaff; the group became his primary performing unit when in the States. In the '90s, Yamashita recorded several albums for Verve; in 1994, he played solo at the label's 50th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall. Yamashita has recorded more than 40 albums. He's also an accomplished essayist, having written several books.

Born in Tokyo, in 1941, Masahiko Satoh's earliest influences came from Olivier Messiaen and Yuji Takahashi, although the pianist earned his living playing in various jazz combos in Japan, Europe and the USA throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s. Between 1966 and '68, the young Satoh studied at California's Berkeley Music School, after which his trio won the prestigious 1969 Swing Journal Award for their debut album PALLADIUM. Soon after, Satoh composed the ELECTRUM material for Ishikawa's Count Buffaloes, then arranged and played piano on the Columbia Records LP PERSPECTIVE by the ever experimental Toshiyuki Miyami & the New Herd Orchestra. For his next trio LP DEFORMATION, recorded in concert at Tokyo's Sankei Hall, Satoh asked his musicians to respond to a reel-to-reel tape recorder playing segments of the New Herd's woodwind section, and things started to get interesting. A pure solo jazz LP HOLOGRAPHY came next, but the arrival of German jazz guitarist Attila Zoller, in summer 1970, brought an entirely fresh perspective to Satoh's work. In truth, the resulting Zoller/Satoh pure-jazz collaboration LP DUOLOGUE is outside the parameters of this book, but it was Zoller's tales of German musicians' determination to add uniquely German elements into their progressive jazz scene that opened Satoh's mind to the idea of incorporating purely Japanese elements in his music.

Satoh's opportunity to create a 'uniquely Japanese' jazz came at the beginning of 1971, when he was commissioned by Columbia Records to write a futuristic work for the 24-year-old percussion prodigy Stomu Yamashita, then already over a decade into his career as a soloist. Yamashita had long been hailed as the 'world's greatest percussionist' by such esteemed figures as John Cage and Aram Khatchaturian; his early works were stunning fundamentalist broadsides of gagaku and other Japanese-based ritualistic percussion epics. His dynamic and extrovert showmanship, long hair waving and capes flaring, had brought such excitement to his performances that composers Toru Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze and Peter Maxwell-Davies had already composed long percussion pieces especially for the young Japanese. Masahiko Satoh's piece for Stomu Yamashita took its cue from the orchestral arrangements composed the previous year for the New Herd Orchestra, and seventeen of those same New Herd musicians were invited to perform the epic work. Entitled METEMPSYCHOSIS, the composition was recorded in one single session on 27th January 1971, and was an avant-garde masterpiece of barely controlled cosmic chao, featuring an outrageous wind section comprised of four trumpeters, four trombonists, four sax players and a bassoonist. Stomu Yamashita and New Herd drummer Yoshisaburo Toyozumi rumbled and raged across Satoh's two side-long pieces, creating a music that was way beyond jazz and approached a kind of Godhead union between Sun Ra and the Cosmic Jokers. Its incredible artistic success so inspired Yamashita that he next asked Masahiko Satoh to create a similar work for a far-smaller ensemble. Hitting his stride, Satoh then enlisted the aid of Taj Mahal Travellers' leader and master improviser Takehisa Kosugi, over whose swaying and heavily FX'd violin, Satoh laid droning, atonal Yamaha organ. The ensemble was completed by percussionist Hideakira Sakurai, whose Japanese percussion, shamisen and koto united with Yamashita's own arsenal of percussion to create the massive hallucinatory piece later released as the London Records LP SUNRISE FROM WEST SEA LIVE and credited to Stomu Yamashita & the Horizon.

This was the uniquely Japanese music that Satoh had for so long been threatening, and he immediately set about the task of creating his own similar ensemble. Satoh contacted his producer friend and Polydor Records label boss Ikuzo Orita, who agreed to record and release whatever the composer wished. So inspired was Satoh that, less than one week later, he was ensconced in Polydor Studio 1 with his trio drummer Masahiko Togashi and three percussionists, Joe Mizuki, Hozumi Tanaka and Isamu Harada, all of whom had backgrounds in gagaku ritual. Naming this scratch quintet Epos, Satoh recorded over the course of just one day a huge three-part quadraphonic percussion album entitled ETERNITY. Clearly inspired by Kosugi's own Taj Mahal Travellers, and subtitled '4Ch Niyoru Dagakki to Okesutora No Tameno Konpojishon' (Composition for Percussion & Orchestra in Quadraphonic), ETERNITY was an alienated and epic avant-garde wash of empty space music.

Polydor label boss Orita now believed that it was the turn of 'super session' guitar gunslinger Kimio Mizutani to make his own album, and so the producer sought the aid of both Masahiko Satoh's keyboard-playing and compositional skills, in order to create a Japanese equivalent of Frank Zappa's HOT RATS. Unfortunately, while the results were indeed charming, Mizutani's A PATH THROUGH HAZE suffered from an over-compressed mix and too many restrained performances from Mizutani himself, who clearly felt out of his depth surrounded by so many much older jazz heavy-weights. Furthermore, the Satoh-composed title track was a meek affair that disappointed its composer so much that he decided to re-record it with his old German guitarist friend Attila Zoller. The resulting album, confusingly also entitled A PATH THROUGH HAZE, was once again comprised of orthodox jazz material that lies entirely outside the realms of this book save for its sublime title track, which was a quarter-of-an-hour-long tour de force.

Next came Satoh's most legendary album AMALGAMATION. Released in mid-1971, it seems most likely that Masahiko Satoh's primary inspiration for the album's recording was his Tokyo collaboration with German pianist Wolfgang Dauner on the duet LP PIANOLOGY. Dauner had long been experimenting with ring-modulated Hohner clavinets and pianos, the results of which were best seen on his albums FREE ACTION, FÜR and OUTPUT on Germany's ECM Records.

After the heavy drum-centred nirvana of AMALGAMATION, Masahiko Satoh decided to retain the same formula for his 1972 album YAMATAI-FU, on which he collaborated with band leader Toshiyuki Miyami and his New Herd Orchestra. Unable to summon the return of Louis Hayes for the recording, but still demanding exhausting drum workouts to propel the new piece along, Satoh was forced to make huge demands of his own trio drummer Masaru Hiromi, around whom Satoh composed blasts of atonal yet euphoric brass sections to create a mighty work that was, arguably, even greater than its predecessor. Over three simply titled works of kosmische chaos, 'Ichi' (First), 'Ni' (Second) and 'San' (Third), drummer Togashi unleashed a fury worthy of John Coltrane's own Philly Joe Jones. By 1973, Satoh had established a new highly experimental trio named Garandoh, with former Epos percussionist Hozumi Tanaka and electric cellist Keiki Midorikawa. This trio performed at the 1973 jazz festival 'Inspiration & Power', and appeared on its wonderful accompanying double-LP of the same name. Unfortunately, Satoh's work thereafter drifted inexorably back into orthodox jazz, and his post-l973 records are of little appeal to non-jazz fans.

Jean-Luc Ponty & Masahiko Sato - 1970 - Astrorama

Jean-Luc Ponty & Masahiko Sato 

01. Golden Green [13:08]
02. And So On [07:49]
03. Astrorama / Nuggis [24:37]

Jean-Luc Ponty, violin
Masahiko Sato, electric and acoustic piano
Yoshiaki Masuo, guitar
Nils-Henning Ørsted Pedersen , bass
Motohiko Hino, drums

'Golden Green' and 'Astrorama' composed by Jean-Luc Ponty,
'And So On' by Masahiko Sato, 'Nuggis' by Wolfgang Dauner
Produced by Joachim Ernst Berendt
Recorded August 29, 1970 at Toshiba Studios, Tokyo, Japan.

With full respect to French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty for his work as sideman in Mashavishnu Orchestra and partially with Frank Zappa, I have never been a big fan of his solo albums. Ponty's transformation of Gipsy swing to violin shred for middle-class sofa rockers didn't sound attractive,what for sure is a question of taste.

This Ponty early collaborative work attracted me first of all because of Japanese pianist Masahiko Sato,who is stated as co-leader. Sato in late 60s-early 70s was a true free jazz idol on Japanese scene,so I was curious what can he do in a company like this.

Recorded (and released) in 1970, "Astrorama" contains four originals,three -Ponty's and one Sato's. With no doubt it is Ponty's album first of all - his violin fusion shredding absolutely dominates here even if experienced ear can hear some interesting Sato soloing in few places. In accordance with a long lasting Japanese jazz tradition local musicians tried to collaborate with renowned Western jazz stars, such gigs or recordings were tickets of sort to domestic Jazz hall of fame.

Sato, who at the moment of "Astrorama" recording already built up the reputation of most innovative and revolutionary of Japanese "new jazz" pianist,plays electric piano here trying to adapt his very different techniques to Ponty quite conservative jazz fusion's requirements. As a result he sounds more as Corea (or Hancock) on their very early fusion recordings. Rest of the band don't help much as well - drummer Motohiko Hino (brother of renown trumpeter Terumasa Hino) is well known by his heavyweight drumming manners,fitting better to fusion or rock jazz than to more subtle genres. Unknown to me guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo doesn't shine much, and the last quintet member is a European mainstream jazz legend Dane Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen. His presence in band for sure increased the quintet status a lot, but physical and quite conservative groovy acoustic bass lines adds even more eclectics to far not very organic band.

As one can expect from such line-up,resulting music is quite a mixed bag. Ponty feels a true leader and obviously dominates with quite enthusiastic support from electric guitarist and drummer. Sato balances with different success between electric piano fusion passages and more complex,free and partially psychedelic pieces which not always fit well.

Still the year is 1970 and creativity is in the air so in whole "Astrorama" is quite rewarding listening,representing one of deviations of classic fusion on the early stage of the genre.

Attila Zoller & Masahiko Sato - 1972 - A Path Through Haze

Attila Zoller & Masahiko Sato 
A Path Through Haze

01. Meet 9:00
02. Sazo 3:45
03. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair 6:30
04. Close Up 2:25
05. Together - Not Alone 8:48
06. A Path Through Haze 13:48

Bass – Yasuo Arakawa
Drums – Masahiko Ozu
Guitar – Attila Zoller
Piano – Masahiko Sato

Recorded on the occassion of the Berlin Jazz Festival 71 at Teldec Studio Berlin November 7th, 1971.

Heres a beautiful MPS session from 1971, featuring legendary post bop guitarist Atilla Zoller, Harmonically Challenging and at times tonally ambiguous ,though relatively straight ahead with lots of delightful free wheeling interplay,by Satoh and Zoller.

All in all rather reminiscent of  the material performed by a sensational mid sixties band led by pianist Don Friedman, that recorded a couple of albums for Prestige
the best of which ,"Metamorphoses" happens to be among my favorite records...(available on CD and well worth checking out)

Attila Zoller & Masahiko Sato - 1970 - Duologue

Attila Zoller & Masahiko Sato 

01. Falling In Love With Love 7:10
02. The Look Of Love 8:11
03. You Stepped Out Of A Dream 8:07
04. Duologue 17:46

Guitar – Attila Zoller
Piano – Masahiko Sato

Part of FAR EAST jazz series.
Includes 2-sided inlet with Japanese liner notes and FAR EAST jazz series catalogue.

Recorded in Japan, June 16, 1970.

Manufactured by Toshiba-EMI Ltd. in Japan.

Albert Mangelsdorff, Masahiko Sato, Peter Warren, Allen Blairman - 1971 - Spontaneous

Albert Mangelsdorff, Masahiko Sato, Peter Warren, Allen Blairman 

01. Roots To Moods 10:50
02. Cosmopolitans 12:06
03. Ludwig Van Watches 5:44
04. Voices, Noises, Lungs'N'Tongues, Strings, And Things 12:24

CD Bonus
05. Almapela 10:33

Bass – Peter Warren
Drums – Allen Blairman
Piano – Masahiko Sato
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff

Recorded at Audio-Studio, Berlin on November 8, 1971.

I proudly present a marvelous LP of jazz improvisation at its best from four superb, if too little-known musicians: Spontaneous , a German import released in 1972 by the Enja label, now out of print in all formats. This amazing music is the collective accomplishment of Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Masahiko Sato (piano, modulator), Peter Warren (bass) and Allen Blairman (drums). There are four pieces on the album (each credited to one of the four players), but the "compositions" are essentially frameworks for the musicians to explore, to find new and unexpected ideas and directions as they go. In the act of discarding structure for complete musical freedom, the players often achieve explosive and intoxicating results. The recording quality is superb, lending the music a strong "you are there" ambience. Everyone interested in envelope-pushing sounds should own at least a few recordings of free improvisation, and Spontaneous is a stellar example of the genre.

Various Artists - 1972 - Opus 72

Various Artists 
Opus 72 

Programme 1 25:55
A1 Le Concerto Pour Hrisanide 22:10
        Programme 2 22:50
B1 Night Misic 8:40
B2 Concerto For Alto-Saxophone And Orchestra 9:30

Producer – Guus Feist
Voice – Nevil Gray

An Anthology of new Dutch Music that made its mark in 1972

After Opus '70 and Opus '71, here is Opus '72 introducing modern composers and compositions from the Netherlands in 1972. The Opus series were distributed to foreign radio stations to promote Dutch contemporary composed music. The series are essential for exploring Dutch avant-garde and contemporary composed classical music of the previous century.

The first programme consists of a long piece by Rob du Bois inspired by Romanian composer Alexander Hrisanide . The piece requires a pianist not only to play the piano but also an electronic organ, a toy-piano and a large tom-tom. It's an interesting musical piece in which strange piano sounds are the centre.

The second programme consists of pieces by Ton de Leeuw and Tristan Keuris. De Leeuw's piece is inspired by Indian music and thought in which a flute, played by Abbie de Quant, plays the main role. De Leeuw who studied ethnomusicology was the teacher of Tristan Keuris. Keuris' piece is created for alto-saxophone and an intuitively responding orchestra.

Various Artists - 1971 - Opus 71

Various Artists 
Opus 71 

A1. Ton de Leeuw  Music For Strings 10:30
A2. Peter Schat Theme, For Solo Oboe, Eighteen Wind Instruments And Five Electronic Instruments 13:15
B1. Jan Vriend Huantan, For Organ And Wind Instruments 13:00

Introducing Dutch Avant-garde compositions that came to the fore in 1971 . Compiled and edited by Jos Wouters, produced by Guus Feist.
Anounced by Jerry Cowan.

Here's Opus '71, another showcase of modern composed Dutch composition this time from the year 1971. The Opus series started out in the mid-sixties and went on all the way to the end of the eighties. They were promotional copies send to foreign radio stations to show contemporary developments in Dutch music. For this reason every composition has an introduction in English. The Opus series were not regularly for sale which makes them quite hard to find.

The featured composers on Opus '71 are Ton de Leeuw, Peter Schat, Jan Vriend and David Porcelijn. Their pieces are quite freeform and spacious resulting in unexpected sound movements and strange sonorous adventures. I like these compositions because I can listen to them in a less rigid way than regular classical music because of their improvisational components. Also due to the use of electronic instruments and electric guitars in some of the pieces a multi-layered sound is created. Especially programme 2 is very weird and takes on some strange imaginative conceptual ideas in music which you can read about on the insert.

It's remarkable that even here in Holland there isn't that much public interest or exposure for this type of Dutch music and composition. The Opus series create a great opportunity to dig into the surprising world of Dutch modern composed music of which many compositions are already quite forgotten.

Various Artists - 1970 - Opus 70

Various Artists 
Opus 70

Programme 1
A1 –Otto Ketting Set Of Pieces For Wind Quintet
A2 –Ton De Kruyf Séance (For Percussion, Piano And Harp)

Programme 2
B1 –Wil Eisma Because It Is (For Harpsichord, Oboe And Percussion)
B2 –Ton Bruynel Signs (For Wind Quintet)

Artwork By [Uncredited] – Dick Elffers
Compiled By, Edited By – Dr. Jos Wouters
Producer – Guus Feist
Voice [Announcer] – Alan Clark

Introducing Dutch avant-garde compositions that came to the fore in 1970.
These Two programmes with samplings of Dutch avant-garde music, recorded on one 12-inch stereophonic LP, are offered as a free service to radio stations outside the Netherlands.

Next up on the blog is this pretty interesting promotional compilation of Dutch Avant-Garde composers. Opus '70 was published by the Dutch world radio broadcasting system to be distributed in the United States and Canada to shed light on contemporary composers from Holland. On both sides of this record there is a program introduced in English to be transmitted by foreign radio stations. The pieces are variably incalculable, spacious or created by weirdly processed instruments.

The composers on here are Otto Ketting, Ton de Kruyf, Wil Eisma and Ton Bruynel. These four composers stand out as some of the most important composers of the Dutch Avant-Garde alongside Louis Andriessen and Ton de Leeuw just to name a few. Specially Bruynel did some great works of electronic music and musique concrète which I recommend you to find. On this record his piece is also the only one with electronic sounds and electronic processing. You can see him here in a clip in Dutch in which he talks about his music.

Theo Loevendie Consort - 1972 - Chess

Theo Loevendie Consort 

01. Chess
02. Scratch
03. Brasilia
04. Tremolo
05. Lap Sang Souchong

Theo Loevendie (alto sax)
Willem van Manen (trombone)
Hans Dulfer (tenor sax)
Leo van Oostrom (baritone sax/clarinet)
Harry Sparnaay (bass clarinet)
Rien de Reede (flute)
Leo Cuypers (piano/conga drum)
Arjen Gorter (bass)
Martin van Duynhoven (drums).

 Theo Loevendie is a Dutch jazz clarinetist and composer and has been one of the key figures in Dutch jazz and improvisation since the sixties. In the early seventies Loevendie created two albums under the name Theo Loevendie Consort: Chess and Mandela (both have been reissued on a CD which is also out of print).

The Theo Loevendie Consort is basically a Dutch supergroup of jazz and impro musicians. The group consisted of trombonist Willem van Manen, icon of Dutch jazz: saxophonist Hans Dulfer, bass clarinet wizard Harry Sparnaay (to be found on this blog), pianist Leo Cuypers, bass player Arjen Gorter, saxophonist Leo van Oostrom and drummer Martin van Duynhoven (who was also in Group 1850, one of the best psychedelic Dutch bands from the sixties and seventies).

Chess! is an important album in the Dutch (free)jazz realm, but to my personal taste not the best effort you'd expect from a supergroup like this. I suppose it was hard for them to find the right balance between their melody foundations and free jazz outburst and the space everyone had within that division. But then again maybe that's exactly what they tried to do according to the liner notes, namely:  "Anthitheses, depicting a fight between worn-out traditions and the modern improvisation approach". For example the first piece chess is a nice combination of a simple happy melody and free jazz. The piece brasilia combines a Brazilian-like melody with chaotic saxophone bursts. All in all the whole is a cool example of Dutch free jazz and does grasp the groovy spirit of that particular time in Holland. Maybe it's just that one has too high expectations being confronted with a supergroup of this degree.

Pierre Courbois - 1975 - Myria´ Poda

Pierre Courbois 
Myria´ Poda

01. Beat And Bow 2:17
02. Myria´ Poda 8:25
03. Mr. P. Aiste Amnd Mr. J. Banez 4:21
04. Handycraft Center 4:06
05. Silence 0:45
06. Crying With The Wolves In The Wood 3:27
07. Naar En Dorp 2:44
08. There Is A Whole In The Bassdrum 1:44
09. Straight Shooter 7:00
10. Rock Will Never Die 3:08
11. Drums In The Lobau 3:29
12. Cymbal Symon

Pierre Courbois (Nijmegen, 1940) is a Dutch drummer known from the great Dutch/German prog-fusion band Association and Association P.C. He played with many different figures from the European impro-jazz and jazz rock scene from the seventies onwards.

Despite the cover this record is a true experimental masterpiece. Probably because of the cover it hasn't been properly rediscovered yet. Myria'Poda was recorded after a jamsession of Association P.C. in the German city of Bonn in 1975. It's a solo drum album that comes close to the unorthodox approach of drummers like Chris Cutler (Henry Cow). For this album Pierre Courbois had built his own drumkit out of fiberglass and combined it with echo-units, modulators, phasers, contact microphones, gongs, built-in pitch control and toms. As a metaphorical human centipede, milipede etc. (Family name for them is Myriapoda) Courbois takes on his drumkit and creates amazing atmospheres that transcend the traditional drum sounds.

The album has a sound much closer to some of the improvisational tripped out Krautrock bands like Faust, Amon Düül II or Limbus than to jazz or fusion. It really manages that you are not just listening to some drum experiments, but to a genuine trip of its own.


Free Music Quartett - 1969 - Free Music & Orgel

Free Music Quartett 
Free Music & Orgel

01. –Free Music Quartett + 1 / Edgar M. Böhlke / Oskar Gottlieb Blarr Psalmus 7:58
02. –Free Music Quartett + 1 / Oskar Gottlieb Blarr Kyrie 7:46
03. –Free Music Quartett + 1 / Oskar Gottlieb Blarr Gloria For Percussions 6:17
04. –Edgar M. Böhlke* / Oskar Gottlieb Blarr Da Pacem (Drei Plakate, Fassung 1968) 8:12
05. –Free Music Quartett + 1 / Oskar Gottlieb Blarr Benedicamus Domino I 4:00
06. –Free Music Quartett + 1 Benedicamus Domino II 4:06

Composed By – Oskar Gottlieb Blarr (tracks: A1, A2, B1)

Double Bass – Ferdi Rickers (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Organ – Oskar Gottlieb Blarr (tracks: A1 to B2)
Percussion, Leader – Pierre Courbois (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Saxophone, Flute – Peter Van De Locht (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Boy Raaymakers (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Vibraphone – Erwin Sommer (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)

Recorded October 13/14, 1968 at Melanchthon-Kirche Düsseldorf and at Grote Kerk Arnhem.

Free Music & Orgel was a freeform endeavour to combine Christian church music with avant-garde, free-jazz and 'beat' music. The main composer behind it was the Dutch Pierre Courbois . Together with German organist Oskar Gottlieb Blarr, German narrator Edgar M. Böhlke, Dutch trumpetist Boy Raaymakers, Dutch sax player Peter van de Locht and Ferdi Rikkers on double bass a spontaneous project was recorded on October 13th and 14th, 1968 at Melanchthon-Kirche Düsseldorf and at Grote Kerk Arnhem.

This album showcases how the church tried to find new ways of connecting to the youth that was more and more being submerged in hippieness in the late sixties. An important figure in this German wave of the Christian krautrock-beat-mass genre was Nicaraguan priest-poet Ernesto Cardenal. His poems were also used on this album. Cardenal related things like the cosmic unity of the universe to Christ to use the hippie discourse for a Christian message, although politics are also important in this case.

The Christian Schwann label was quite adventurous with its releases. It also published the first two legendary Kluster albums. Somehow redemption was thought to be found in the experience of the free and abstract. But also in the popular culture, like Cardenals poem tells on this album: praise the lord of the milky ways and space between the milky ways with violins, with flutes and saxophone, praise him with blues and jazz, praise him with record players etc.

Musically I find this an amazing album where a sound reminiscent of Italian library music in the vein of Il Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza meets jazz, poetry and dark psychedelic sounds. It also comes close to the Risonanze series which I published before. It is almost a Christian take on the Dutch hyperrare cult psychedelic beat poetry album Woorden. I actually find the balance between the church organ and the church bells with the other instruments really impressive. Much more could be said about this album because it has so many implications and so many different musicians, but I'll keep the rest to you.

Free Music Quintet - 1968 - Free Music One And Two

Free Music Quintet 
Free Music One And Two

01. Free Music No. 1 18:00
02. Free Music No. 2 18:30

Recorded June 24-25 1968 in a brick barn in Baarn, Holland

Ferdy Rikkers: bass, percussion
Erwin Somer: violin, vibraphone, percussion, design, layout
Pierre Courbois: drums, gongs, cymbals, percussion
Boy Raaymakers: trumpet, bugle, percussion
Peter van der Locht: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piccolo flute, percussion

One of the most uncompromising free jazz records ever made, this one-off improvisation by a group of Dutch players, led by percussionist Pierre Courbois, is an archetype of the style. Free jazz doesn't just require a lot of unrestrained blowing and freeform noise, although there are passages of that here. The two lengthy improvs build from placid beginnings, as each member adds various percussion instruments to the growing cacophony, before reedsman Peter van der Locht (at times playing two saxes at once á la Rahsaan Roland Kirk) and trumpeter Boy Raaymakers let loose. All five players get their chances to lead the quintet, although there's a minimum of soloing. Courbois drives both improvs, and there's a five-minute stretch starting about seven minutes into "Free Music Number One" where he simply explodes, bashing a trap kit and a variety of other objects like the cartoon Tasmanian Devil on a dozen espressos, armed with a pair of baseball bats. There's an impressive sense of dynamics to the improvs, both of which have sections of near-silence mixed in with the explosions, and there's a structural unity to each improv despite the lack of musical themes or other familiar signposts.

Michel Waisvisz - 1977 - Crackle

Michel Waisvisz 

01. A Cheval 3:13
02. Dutchjazzcircus 6:31
03. Crackles 2:33
04. Steve's Pipe 5:38
05. First Dancesteps 1:51
06. De Brug Gaat Open 6:13
07. Berliner Neustadtlament 4:33
08. Stradivarius 2:30
09. 4 Narrow Escapes 6:20
10. One For The Road 0:51

Recorded At – Steim
Recorded At – Studio Flykingen
Recorded At – M.S. Clacor
Recorded At – Quartier Latin, Berlin

Engineer – Jost Gebers (tracks: B1 to B5), Michel Waisvisz (tracks: A1 to A5)
Photography By – Hans Pattist (2)
Producer – Jost Gebers, Michel Waisvisz
Synthesizer [Crackle, Modified Putney VCS 3], Instruments [Modified Spring-board (built By Hugh Davies)], Harmonica [Mouth Organ], Composed By, Design [Cover Design] – Michel Waisvisz

A1 on January 15th & 16th,1977 at Studio Steim in Amsterdam
A2 to A4 on July 12th to 22nd,1977 at Studio Flykingen in Stockholm
A5 on October 13th,1976 on board of M.S. Clacor in Amsterdam
B1 to B4 live on November 7th,1976 during the Total Music Meeting at the Quartier Latin in Berlin
B5 on August 10th,1976 at Studio Steim in Amsterdam

Multi track technique (dubbing) has been used for the Steim and Flykingen studio recordings.
No speed or other tricks.
All recordings are done with microphones.

A beautiful recording from the German FMP label of exceptional electronic creativity from Michel Waisvisz, inventor of the "Crackle Box", a small hand held electronic instrument used for causing all sorts of musical caos. An outer realm jam session of one man utilizing his own invention. His contribution to the world of electronics is a most wonderful experience.

In listening, some may become disturbed by the sudden shock to their own undefined notion of normalcy. And that's a good thing. (Curious Mutation 2010)

Michel Waiswisz pushes technology to its expressive limit, by creating electronic musical instruments which depend on the physical intelligence of the performer. A composer, performer and inventor of groundbreaking instruments which make electronic sound tangible (such as the Hands, the Sweatstick and the WEB – the latter in advance of the Internet), Waiswisz decided in the 1970s not to record his music, but to concentrate on live performance. He has played in concert halls and at rock festivals all over the world, and collaborated with a wide range of musicians, from Steve Lacy to Laurie Anderson to DJ Spooky. He is also the Director of Steim (the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music), the only independent electronic music centre in the world exclusively dedicated to the performance arts. Waiswisz demonstrates a resolutely human approach to technology, characterised by "extremely physical interfaces," but he has also developed software instruments (with Frank Baldé) such as Image/ine and LiSa (for live sampling). He is also the founder of the Physical Philosophy movement, which champions physical manipulation (rather than language) as the most economical and precise expression of the axioms of philosophy.

K'ploeng - 1978 - Live Performances

Live Performances

01. Marmite 10:48
02. Omelette A La Valse 7:39
03. Peultjes 3:55
04. Lady Of The Prunes 9:56
05. Met Mes En Vork 6:42
06. Banana Split 4:00

Maarten van Regteren Altena (double bass, cigar box, voloncello)
Derek Bailey (electric and acoustic guitar)
Terry Day (percussion, mandoline, balloons, toys, clarinet)
Tristan Honzinger (violoncello)
Maurice Horsthuis (viola)
Michel Waisvisz (Electronics, Guitar, Performer [Electric Miniharp, Objects])

Producer – Maarten Van Regteren Altena, Michel Waisvisz

All Compositions By The Performers. Recordings From The Holland Tour, 14-17 December 1977.

1. Maarten Van Regteren Altena, cello, cigar box, bass; Derek Bailey, electric guitar:

Marmite (10:47); recorded on 17 December 1977 at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

2. Maarten Van Regteren Altena, bass; Derek Bailey, electric guitar; Terry Day, percussion; Tristan Honsinger, cello; Maurice Horsthuis, viola:

Omelette a la valse (07:41); recorded on 16 December 1977 at Waagtheater, Delf.

3. Maarten Van Regteren Altena, bass; Derek Bailey, electric and acoustic guitars; Terry Day, mandoline, percussion; Maurice Horsthuis, viola:

Peultjes (03:57); recorded on 17 December 1977 in Vlissingen.

4. Terry Day, balloons, toys, percussion; Michel Waisvisz, crackle box, hawaiszguitar:

Lady of the prunes (09:56); recorded on 14 December 1977 at Oosterpoort, Groningen.

5. Maarten Van Regteren Altena, bass; Derek Bailey, electric guitar; Terry Day, clarinet; Tristan Honsinger, cello; Maurice Horsthuis, viola; Michel Waisvisz, crackle box, electric miniharp:

Met mes en vork (06:43); recorded on 17 December 1977 in Vlissingen.

6. Maarten Van Regteren Altena, bass; Terry Day, toys, mandoline, percussion:

Banana split (03:59); recorded on 16 December 1977 at Waagtheater, Delf.

A group with a really unusual vibe, and a great lineup too! Altena formed the group of improvising string players – with Derek Bailey on electric and acuoustic guitars, Altena on bass and cello (and cigar box!), Terry Day on mandolin and toys, Tristan Honziger on cello, Maurice Horsthuis on viola, and Michel Waisvisz on crackle synth, electric miniharp, and hawaiszguitar!

Harry Sparnaay - 1986 - Ladder of Escape

Harry Sparnaay 
Ladder of Escape

01. –Isang Yun Monologue 10:10
02. –Enrique Raxach Vórtice 7:05
03. –Eric Dolphy God Bless The Child 5:54
04. –Michael Smetanin Ladder Of Escape 3:22
05. –Guus Janssen Sprezzatura 8:10
06. –Martin Wesley-Smith For Bass Clarinet & Tape 11:06

Bass Clarinet – Harry Sparnaay

Attacca Records
Oudezijdse Voorburgwal 225/227
1012 EX Amsterdam

Next stop is another modern composed record by Dutch bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay. Ladder of Escape consists of six compositions for bass clarinet by composers from all over the world. There is a Korean, Dutch, two Australian, American and a Spanish composer present on this record. An earlier Sparnaay album on this blog can be found here.

Ladder of Escape is a kind of metaphor for the way in which Sparnaay helped to promote and free the bass clarinet of its conservative and dull image. Ladder of Escape is also a piece on here dedicated to the memory of Spanish Catalan painter and artist Joan Miró. Most of the compositions are solo pieces on the bass clarinet. The composition I uploaded below is a long piece called For Bass Clarinet and Tape composed by Australian composer Martin Wesley-Smith. It has a hectic almost RIO or Zappa-esque touch to it and merges the bass clarinet with electronics.Very nice.

Though perhaps a curiosity of the past, the bass clarinet has now thrown off its chains. Through its limitations it has fought its way to freedom. Indeed, if the bass clarinet was formerly regarded as a chained instrument, it needed a Houdini like Harry Sparnaay to free this "low-keyed lady" under the instruments from her isolation.

Harry Sparnaay - 1982 - Bass Clarinet Identity II

Harry Sparnaay
Bass Clarinet Identity II

01. –Enrique Raxach-Soirée Musicale 30:50
02. –Tristan Keuris-Concertino 10:00
03. –Joep Straesser-Fusion À Six 8:20

Pressed By – PRS Baarn – 6814 672

Composed By – Enrique Raxach (tracks: A), Joep Straesser (tracks: B2), Tristan Keuris (tracks: B1)
Design – Floris Guntenaar
Liner Notes – E.R.*, J.S.*, T.K.*
Liner Notes [Translation] – Sonja Jokel
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Rights Society: STEMRA
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side A): 6814 672 1Y 1 670 111 04
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side B): 6814 672 2Y 1 670 112 04

After the first Bass Clarinet Identity I posted a while ago, we finally get to hear the second one by Dutch Bass Clarinet virtuoso Harry Sparnaay. The same circle of composers and musicians are on here creating three pieces in which the Bass Clarinet (obviously) plays the main role.

On this particular record the electronic pieces are no longer present, but are replaced by choirs and more acoustic contemporary classical composed ones. Therefore this record might be the closest to classical music on this blog. Fortunately this does not mean that the music is dull. The A-side consists of a 30 minute piece called Soirée Musicale composed by Spanish composer Enrique Raxach and invokes unexpected sound-bursts of entangled string and wind-instruments in a landscape of haunted spheres. The other pieces by Dutch composers are more minimalistic in which Sparnaay's Bass Clarinet gets more freedom to explore its possibilities. The whole is actually a bit more conventional musically, but still creates something eerie and unexpected. It's a nice continuation of the Harry Sparnaay universe on this blog.

Harry Sparnaay - 1978 - Bass Clarinet Identity

Harry Sparnaay 
Bass Clarinet Identity

01. Solo Identity I 6:05
02. Mountains 18:15
03. Intersections V-2 8:00
04. Chimaera 9:00
05. Nieuw Werk 5:50

Pressed By – Phonodisc B.V. – 6812 523

Bass Clarinet – Harry Sparnaay
Piano – Polo de Haas (tracks: B1, B3)

Non-commercial release, limited edition, for subscribers only.

Scores : Donemus.

Solo Identity (1972)
Mountains (1977)
Intersections V-2 (1975)
Chimaera (1974)
Nieuw werk (1976)
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Rights Society: STEMRA
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side A): AA 6812 523 1Y1 670 113 06
Matrix / Runout (Runout stamp side B): AA 6812 523 2Y1 670 111 06

Harry Sparnaay studied at the Conservatoire of Amsterdam with Ru Otto.

After graduating with a performer's degree for clarinet he specialized in bass clarinet. Today he ranks among the world's distinguished bass clarinet players. He has played solo at numerous music festivals all over the wordl such as Warsaw, New York, Los Angeles, Zagreb, the Holland Festival, several ISCM Festivals, Madrid, Paris and Athens. Other festival include those of Witten, Aarhus, Como, Bolzano, Naples, Torino, Bourges, Middelburg, Graz, Salzburg, Huddersfield, Saarbrücken, Royan and Houston.

Sparnaay has been a featured performer with many major orchestra's and ensembles including the ASKO Ensemble, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble 2E2M, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Schönberg ensemble and the Seymour Group, and has appeared with leading conductors including Luciano Berio, Riccardo Chailly, Richard Dufallo, Peter Eötvös, Reinbert de Leeuw, Diego Masson, Jacques Mercier, David Porcelijn, David Stock, Lucas Vis, Hans Vonk and Mark Summerbell.

He has given concerts and made radio recordings all over Europe, North and South America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, performing works written for and dedicated to him. Over 500 compositions were written for him by composers such as Claudio Ambrosini, Luciano Berio, Gerard Brophy, Paul-Heinz Dittrich, Franco Donatoni, Morton Feldman, Brian Ferneyhough, Gérard Grisey, Mary Finsterer, Andrew Ford, Jonathan Harvey, Maki Ishii, Sukhi Kang, Tristan Keuris, Mark Kopytman, Helmut Lachenmann, Ton de Leeuw, Theo Loevendie, Roderik de Man, Michael Smetanin, Maurice Weddington, Iannis Xenakis, Isang Yun, Andrés Lewin-Richter, Nino Díaz, Hans Joachim Hespos and many others. His own composition BOUWSTENEN for bass clarinet and multiple tape delay was selected for the ISCM World music Days in Denmark.

For many years Harry Sparnaay was professor of bass clarinet and contemporary music at the Conservatoires of Amsterdam and Utrecht where his unique bass clarinet programme attracted students from all over the world, many of them prize winners during major competitions. He has also been musician-in-residence and has given masterclasses at several universities.

Sparnaay played the world première of IN FREUNDSCHAFT and SOLO (adaptation for bass- and contra bass clarinet by Barry Anderson) by Karlheinz Stockhausen and was one of the soloists in DIE VERWANDLUNG van Paul-Heinz Dittrich and in the opera's NAIMA by Theo Loevendie, PROMETEO by Luigi Nono and A KING, RIDING by Klaas de Vries. During the Holland Festival 1999 he was one of the instrumental soloists in KOPERNIKUS by Claude Vivier.

Harry Sparnaay founded the Bass Clarinet Collective (9 bass clarinets, including 3 contrabass clarinets) and with pianist Polo de Haas the duo Fusion Moderne which was awarded the fifth prize during the International Gaudeamus Performers Competition in 1972. Together with flautist Harrie Starreveld and pianist René Eckhardt he founded in 1982 Het Trio . For this group over 180 compositions were written in the meantime. With harpsichordist Annelie de Man he founded Double_Action and with his wife, organist Silvia Castillo, the Duo Levent .

He has recorded more than sixty cd's as a soloist, with Het Trio and in other combinations. The Trio 's recording of works by Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw received an Edison Award in 1995. His television productions have been broadcast in the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and former Yugoslavia. Several times he was a jury member at the International Gaudeamus Performers Competition and he also served as a member of the Dutch section of the ISCM, the International Society for Contemporary Music.

He conducted the Ensemble for New Music of the Conservatoire of Amsterdam in works by Arnold Schönberg, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Olivier Messiaen, Theo Loevendie, Franco Donatoni, Joe Cutler, Toshio Hosokawa, Mary Finsterer and Iannis Xenakis and during the International Gaudeamus Music Week he regularly conducts ensembles in works by the youngest generation. From 2005 he is professor for bass clarinet and chambermusic at the ESMUC in Barcelona.

Harry Sparnaay plays the new model Prestige GreenLine bass clarinet by Buffet Crampon and he plays on RICO bass clarinet reeds.

His book "Harry Sparnaay - the bass clarinet - a personal history" published by Periferia Music in Barcelona ( is received worldwide with great enthusiasm. See for all the comments:

At first glance this looks like a quite dull classical record cover, but wait, who is peeking through the pillars of the post-apocalyptic ruins? It's Harry Sparnaay! Sparnaay is a very renowned Dutch bass clarinetist, composer and teacher. At this particular record Sparnaay plays solo pieces as well as with pianist Polo de Haas under the name Fusion Moderne.

This record shows his mastering of the instrument through five pieces composed by mainly Dutch avant-garde composers. At times the instrument itself is not recognizable any more and tends to go towards some real drone-like music. Some pieces like the 18-minute-long Mountains have electronic tape manipulations and synthesizer additions.

My favourite piece here is the haunting Chimaera from 1974 where they use weird background tape-noise in combination with the bass clarinet. On the liner note it says: "The confrontation between the two (clarinet and tape-noise) works like an exorcism in which the soloist tries to exorcise the inscrutability of the background with his background." Sounds good.

This is some nice modern composed electro-acoustic stuff which you don't see that often in combination with a bass clarinet.

Guus Jansen - 1981 - Tast Tor

Guus Jansen 
Tast Toe

01. Blokken 4:51
02. 1:2 6:51
03. Dik 4:51
04. Uw Trefpunt 2:04
05. Bakkum 7:54
06. Rood, Weel En Bla 4:18
07. Zeven Knoesten 6:54

Recorded At – Bimhuis
Recorded At – Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Manufactured By – PRS Baarn – 6814 603

Composed By – Guus Janssen
Cover – Emo Verkerk
Engineer [Recording] – Dick Lucas
Photography By – Sjef Janssen
Producer – Guus Janssen, Maarten Altena

A1 recorded Bimhuis Amsterdam 26-6-1981
All other pieces: Cencertgebouw Amsterdam 23-6-1981 during Holland Festival

Janssen is a frequent member of the Instant Composers Pool and the key figure in Dutch piano improvisation. He always breaks down different genres into an unclassifiable mixture. He plays jazz, classical music, circus-melodies, pop, but never really ends up in either one of these genres.

Tast Toe, meaning something like help yourself (it also refers to hitting the keys of a piano in a weird linguistic way) is another album in which Janssen rapidly creates his accessible impro tunes while dissecting free-jazz into carnival melodies while entering chamber music realms while simultaneously staying on all borders. I guess it's only to be noticed when giving this a more proper listen, because at first glance it's a bit of conventional piano play. Nevertheless this is another interesting piece of the Amsterdam based Claxon records puzzle. Claxon was one of the best Dutch labels for improvisation music active at the end of the seventies and the eighties. All these pieces were recorded live in Amsterdam in 1981.

Guus Janssen - 1980 - On The Line

Guus Janssen 
On The Line 

01. Zwart Wit 3:44
02. 6 Ft 2 4:45
03. Saartje 8:17
04. Brake 4:00
05. Kinheim 4:47
06. Fifth's Avenue 5:13
07. Metro Oom 3:34
08. Soft Pillow 4:32
09. Inflation 4:35

Guus Janssen (1951) studied piano and composition at the Sweelinck Academy of Music in Amsterdam. His music is difficult to categorize. It can be a composed improvisation (Brake for pianosolo) or an improvised composition (parts from his Violin Concerto or his opera Noach). Music is like life itself, sometimes it asks for fast decisions and sometimes it needs to be thought over a lot.

As a pianist and harpsichordist he performed in various groupings with musicians from John Zorn to Gidon Kremer. Since the early 1980’s he has led his own ensembles, ranging from pianotrios to 11 piece band and opera orchestra.

As a soloist, playing mainly his own compositions and improvisations, he has appeared at a lot of international festivals. In addition he has performed with many of the leading Dutch ensembles and orchestras.

Janssen’s achievements in the field of jazz and improvised music have been widely acclaimed. It was for them that he received the Boy Edgar Award, 1981.

His compositions, quite apart from the pieces written for the Janssen ensembles, range from piano music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely played by, amongst others, the Kronos Quartet, the Schönberg Ensemble, the Ebony Band and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.

In recognition of his standing and quality as a composer, Janssen won the Matthijs Vermeulen Award, 1984.

So far Janssen has composed four opera’ s in collaboration with Friso Haverkamp: ‘Faust’s Licht’ (1988/1993), ‘Noach’ (1994), ‘Hier' (2000) and 'Blue, a Pinnocchio in reverse' (2010). ‘Noach’ has been staged again in Amsterdam by Dutch National Opera in January 1999.

In february 2008 his work 'Verstelwerk' had its wildly acclaimed New York premiere in Zankell Hall performed by the Riverside Orchestra.

In 2008 his new pianosolo cd was released by GeestgrondenCd under the title 'Out of frame'. It was received very enthusiastic by the dutch press.

His pianoconcerto 'Vrije Tijd' (2011) is nominated for the dutch 'Toonzettersprijs 2012'.
In 2013 the Radio Kamer Filharmonie played his piece 'Ballroom Rithmix' with the composer at the electric organ in one of her last projects.

Recently Janssen was honoured with the prestigious Johan Wagenaar Award for his whole oeuvre.

Guus Janssen (Heiloo, 1951) is a Dutch composer and pianist. He is a somewhat lesser known figure coming from the Dutch free improvisation and jazz scene. Janssen is known to approach music in a very open way and to blur the borders of  musical genres like classical, jazz, impro or popular music. He is a frequent member of the famous Dutch impro-jazz ICP Orchestra. Since the early seventies he has been collaborating with most of the renowned Dutch improvisation musicians like Harry Sparnaay, Theo Loevendie, Han Bennink, Ab Baars and others. Nowadays Janssen is still involved in many musical projects.

On this album Janssen displays his solo piano improvisation efforts. There are lots of unexpected piano movements and manoeuvres present combined with pieces written by himself. On The Line came out on the great Dutch record label of improvised music Claxon which featured a.o. records by Michel Waisvisz, Maarten Altena and Moniek Toebosch. All of that stuff is really worth it to check out and a must for fans of Dutch impro music.