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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Furthermore -- Achim Kaufmann & Michael Moore play Herbie Nichols (Ramboy recordings, 2013) ****½

By Hugo Truyens

In the many-hued mansion I call my head, there is a familiar room, well lit and well labelled, where the New Dutch Swing resides. Center stage you can see the ICP Orchestra  (an oriental carpet with intricate patterns) and off that carpet many strands lead to small pockets of interconnected wonders. In this case three threads converge: the music of Herbie Nichols, and the voices of Michael Moore and Achim Kaufmann. 

One reed and 88 keys, immediately surge into business on Crisp Day. Crisp indeed, Achim patterning the ground with angular chords allowing Moore to freely explore the boppy theme. Midway switching positions and jauntily bringing this ditty to its joyous conclusion. The curtains are drawn, sun slants in and seamlessly The Happenings take over, a stunning 12-bar blues variation, with beautiful call and response patterns throughout, with Moore setting his reeds on vibrate. You know, dust particles in that ray of sun. A simple way of assessing a potential new friend is posing the question: where do you stand on Herbie Nichols? What more do you want. You get more Nichols tunes, e. g. Change of Season, where a very soothing phrase appears and plays itself out, to a second appearance in a different register, in a slightly different way but all the way taking your hand and ears and leading them into pastures old and new. Every something is an echo of nothing says John Cage. Here the something echoes back into nothing and leaves you wanting no more. Harsh words, I know, but not a bad situation. 

This is music that frees the mind, it doesn’t push but gently offers you the opportunity to go wherever it moves you. The Andrew Hill tune that concludes this wondrous session (Yellow Violet) draws the curtains again, twilight sets in, the day recedes into nothingness and leaves you there. What happened is hard to say (viz. above) but somehow one dead composer and two live people have combined to give you the gift of hearing with new ears. Not much more is needed. It ends nice too, a door is closed, the music disappears around the corner.


Martin Schray said...

A really nice and poetic review, Hugo.

hugotruyens said...

Thanks Martin.