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Friday, January 23, 2015

Jorrit Dijkstra: New Crosscurrents - Live Bimhuis Amsterdam (Driff Records, 2014) ****

By Paul Acquaro

Reedman Jorrit Dijkstra: New Crosscurrents is a sextet that seamlessly meshes a classic jazz sound, descendent of the Tristano school, with a healthy helping of full on ensemble free-playing on their download only Live Bimhaus Amsterdam from Driff records. The group is comprised of Dijkstra on alto saxophone, David Kweksilber on tenor and alto saxophone, Wiek Hijmans on guitar, Guus Janssen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on bass and Wim Janssen on drums.

The group announces itself with 'Crosscurrent' an uptempo tune with a strong be-bop drive to it. The straight ahead sax solos is augmented by the excellent comping of Guus' piano. But, it's when we get to guitarist Hijmans, whose non-obvious note and rhythmic choices in both accompaniment and solo, that the song really jells into something else. The head of 'Extrucage' has echoes of Monk and Lacy in it's somewhat spasmodically unfolding manner (Djikstra is a member of The Whammies, a group dedicated to interpreting these two influential composers work).  'Konitzology' refers to the cooler and quieter style of Lee Konitz, whose influence is echoed through the sophisticated intertwining lines of the guitar and the saxes. Hijams' textural solo is the centerpiece of 'Marshcello', which seems to be an improvised piece and one that highlights the group's rapport – that is until a composed passage form the horns is juxtaposed over arhythmic comping on the piano, and a whole new song springs forth. 'Non-Stop' boils with defiant power chords and Cecil Taylor like tonal clusters from the piano.

Live Bimhuis Amsterdam is an accessible and high energy affair, the band concept is strong and all the members play excellently. The album is an engaging mix of composition and free playing and a fun listen.

Listen, download: