Music Reviews
ICP Septet + Joris Roelofs, Terrie Ex

ICP Septet + Joris Roelofs, Terrie Ex

Komen & Gaan


To celebrate their tenth anniversary, the jazz and theatre café, Le Brocope in the village of Oleberkoop in the Northern part of the Netherlands invited the musicians from the ICP Orchestra to spend a weekend hanging out and making music. ICP (Instant Composers Pool) has been an active and constantly mutating institution since it’s founding in 1967. The Dutch government didn’t have grants for jazz but they did for composers. Misha Mengelberg, Willem Breuker and Han Bennik put together a grant application calling improvisation, “instant composition” and an institution was born.

The musicians in ICP can and will play just about anything you can think of. I’ve seen them go from playing the most abstract, out there, free improvisation to the most refined Duke Ellington without missing a beat. On Komen & Gaan (Come and Go), they take advantage of having Mara Eijsbouts’ café all to themselves to kick back and play.

The musicians do play. Michael Moore duets with Mara’s pianola (player piano). Pianist Guus Janssen and guitarist Terrie Ex take Bach’s Toccata and Fugue directions the composer could never have imagined. With any jazz performance, there is something lost with just the sounds present. You can’t see Han Bennink throwing drum sticks at a cymbal for example.

The video for “Komen en Goan I” gives us a glimpse of the shenanigans these guys were up to. The piece begins with trombonist Walter Weirbos trying to get the café’s resident canine to duet with him. The dog is having none of that, so Walter wanders through the building, encountering sub units of ICP in different rooms who burst into frenzied improvisation when he walks in, or they don’t. On the record, it’s a chaotic free jam. In the video, it’s a funny chaotic free jam.

Link to “Komen en Gaan I”

Most of the music on Komen & Gaan is rather challenging improvisation. ICP does like to keep you guessing, so bits of “The Sound of Music” and “Fascinating Rhythm” pop up. Just when you’re not expecting it, they play the gorgeously Ellingtonian number, “De Linkershoen, De Rechtershoen” Then they do it again to close out the session. A worldwide pandemic can’t keep these guys down.

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