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.
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.
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.
It's a damn shame that Leucocyte is the final studio album by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio. Svensson died in a tragic diving accident in June of 2008, shortly after this set was finished. More than any other recording issued by this excellent band, Leucocyte captures the art of music making at the moment of conception; it was recorded as live-in-the-studio improvisation over two days in an Australian studio. It was completely finished, post-production and all, with a release date before Svensson's death. The words "post-production" mean plenty when it comes to E.S.T.'s music. The trio often recorded and added sonic effects to their structured, composed pieces. It underscored their hip sophistication and accessibility. It made them a hit with both jazz fans and younger audiences who listen to Radiohead, Sigur Rós, and even heavy metal more than jazz.
This aptly named set was recorded on November 28, 1972, in Barcelona, Spain. Although many of Ben Webster's European sessions suffered when compared to his American ones, this outing is one of the exceptions, due in no small part to the fluid piano work of Tete Montoliu. Supported by a rhythm section of Eric Peter on bass and Peer Wyboris on drums, both Webster and Montoliu have plenty of room to breathe, and the result is a wonderful and pleasant set highlighted by the opening track, "Ben's Blues," and an easy, elegant version of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Webster's trademark breathy tenor sax tone is in full supply here, but the real revelation is Montoliu, who proves to be a marvelous jazz pianist, making Gentle Ben somewhat of an overlooked gem.