Neither quite rock, nor quite jazz, both men believe in a music with immediacy, with authorship, and without boundaries or safety nets. Their instant compositions resonate with happy coincidence, brilliant technique, human accident, unforced error, missed chances, astonishing good luck, hidden intentions, oblique references and the full catalogue of happenstance that is mirrored in all human existence, and is just the kind of place in which both men can live and breathe and have their being.
Drummer Bill Bruford and Dutch pianist and keyboardist Michiel Borstlap have performed together as duos on a very occasional basis during the past few years. The music on In Two Minds features the two old friends at four live concerts from 2006-2007 that were performed in England and Norway. All of the crowd noise and applause has been edited out, so it sounds like a studio set. However very little editing and no overdubbing or mixing took place, so this is an accurate reproduction of the live performances. Borstlap and Bruford perform 11 free improvisations plus Miles Davis' "All Blues." While the playing is spontaneous, it is often melodic with a logical development and plenty of variety. A few of the selections have such strong structures that they almost sound like a standard. Some of the other pieces mostly set moods, emphasize color or have one basic idea or plot. The results are consistently intriguing and rewarding.
A unique, historic festival! The first edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival took place in 1976 in the Nederlands Congresgebouw in The Hague. Some numbers in those early days: six venues, three hundred artists and about nine thousand visitors. In this very first festival year internationally renowned jazz legends performed, such as Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz, as well as most Dutch avant-garde artists.
One of several excellent hard bop pianists from the Memphis area, Harold Mabern has led relatively few dates through the years, but he has always been respected by his contemporaries. He played in Chicago with MJT + 3 in the late '50s and then moved to New York in 1959. Mabern worked with Jimmy Forrest, Lionel Hampton, the Jazztet (1961-1962), Donald Byrd, Miles Davis (1963), J.J. Johnson (1963-1965), Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, Joe Williams (1966-1967), and Sarah Vaughan. During 1968-1970, Mabern led four albums for Prestige, he was with Lee Morgan in the early '70s, and in 1972, he recorded with Stanley Cowell's Piano Choir. Harold Mabern has recorded as a leader for DIW/Columbia and Sackville and toured with the Contemporary Piano Ensemble (1993-1995).
Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant is back for their second album, although with a completely different lineup (besides Dunn, of course). Adam Levy and Kenny Wollesen are gone, replaced by Mary Halvorson on guitar and Ches Smith on drums. The music they play is not so much a fusion of styles as it is a collision of styles. Almost straight-ahead jazz noodling gives way to hardcore blasts and crunching power chords, then completely devolves into Derek Bailey territory, but the band is always together. You can tell that some of it is quite composed, and that other sections are most likely entirely improvised.