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Even in the wildly eclectic ICP catalog, this 66th release stands out. Absent are the ‘3 T’s’ (Tristan Honsinger, Tobias Delius, Thomas Heberer); instead, you get familiar guests (Joris Roelofs and Terrie Ex) and the musical direction of ICP co-founder Han Bennink. And then there is the setting: Le Brocope, a gallery, music venue, café-restaurant situated in a tiny village in Holland’s far North. An inspiring location that takes up a central role on Komen & Gaan.
The ensemble begins by airing out the place and then explores areas that might sound vaguely familiar yet never settle for easy formulas. For every nod to the Ellington/Strayhorn-tradition (see the different versions of Glerum’s swaying “De Linkerschoen, De Rechterschoen”), there is a tour of the premises - with crucial support from dogs and a pianola - and a handful of small line-ups. The combination of ‘Gu’ and ‘Ter’ is one you are not likely to forget.
After the tighter format of De Hondemepper, for which the ICP Tentet worked with a contemporary ensemble, the reigns were loosened for Komen & Gaan. What could have become a mess in the hands of lesser musicians is turned into a refreshing combination of discipline and spontaneity that keeps the legacy of the late Misha Mengelberg alive while giving it another subversive twist. Hovering between wide-eyed playfulness and good-natured mutiny, Komen & Gaan is nothing less than prime ICP.
Ab Baars - tenor sax, clarinet, shakohachi
Mary Oliver - violin, viola
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Michael Moore - alto sax, clarinet
Ernst Glerum - bass, piano
Guus Janssen - piano, pianola
Han Bennink - snaredrums, cymbal, horse shoe, cajon, jeu de boules
Joris Roelofs - bass clarinet
Terrie Ex - guitar