Misha Mengelberg, piano
Dave Douglas, trumpet
Brad Jones, bass
Han Bennink, drums
When Dutch pianist, composer and humorist Misha Mengelberg, one of the heroes of the "new Dutch swing," got together with Dave Douglas for a couple of duo gigs, they enjoyed it so much they decided to expand things to a quartet with New York bassist Brad Jones (who performs regularly with Dave and is on Misha's Avant CD Who's Bridge) and Misha's longtime colleague Han Bennink on drums. (Dave has also performed with Han as a duo, documented on Serpentine, SGL 1510-2). Working with a book of Mengelberg originals and Monk tunes, they played a week at NY's Iridium and then went into Avatar with engineer Joe Ferla (Dave producing) to record live to Direct Stream Digital, the Sony/Philips high definition system. The resulting hybrid Super Audio CD is thrillingly convincing when played back as a 2-channel SACD and still vibrant sounding as a CD, preserving the wit and drive and cohesiveness of four improvisers at the top of their collective game. Misha's tunes run the gamut from boppish scorchers to ballads, raucous, sardonic ditties to blues to a South African kwela, and in this context the Monk tunes underline Misha's particular affinity for his music. (Note: Songlines is simultaneously releasing Wayne Horvitz's new record Sweeter Than the Day as a multi-channel hybrid SACD.)
The godfather of Dutch improvised music, Misha Mengelberg was involved in the absurd-art movement Fluxus in the 60s, debuted on record in '64 on Dolphy's Last Date, and founded the Instant Composer's Pool with Han Bennink and Willem Breuker in 1967. During the 70s he began leading the ICP Orchestra (which continues to be a forum for his interests in the classic jazz repertore, composition, improvisation, conducted improvisation, and music theater), and was artistic director of the electronic music workshop STEIM. He has composed various pieces for piano, wind ensemble, electro-acoustic ensemble, orchestra, and voice, and teaches counterpoint at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. His records are on Soul Note, Avant, DIW, hatOLOGY, ICP, and other labels.