Eric Boeren 4tet
Eric Boeren – cornet
Michael Moore – alto saxophone and clarinet
Wilbert de Joode – double bass
Han Bennink – drums
“There is near-perfect synchronicity, tuneful joyousness, and a relaxed sense of swing that permeates nearly every measure.”
All Music Guide
“Gives a new meaning to the description Hot Jazz. Thank you, Eric, Ornette would love this band.”
The Eric Boeren 4tet began by concentrating on the early quartet music of Ornette Coleman. That repertoire was ‘pulled off the record’ and was interspersed with Boeren’s own compositions. Over the years more and more original compositions have been added to the band’s repertoire.
The line-up of the Eric Boeren 4tet is comparable to that of the Ornette Coleman Quartet of the early sixties. The big difference between the two quartets is the way in which the material is handled. Whereas soloists alternated in the Coleman Quartet, in the 4tet all four musicians share the improvisational space on an equal basis. A collective vision, where musicians have the improvisational room to further develop the musical forms. The existing material suggests the personality and direction of those improvisations.
The compositions of Eric Boeren and Ornette Coleman are deeply rooted in the jazz and blues tradition. They are characterised by strong, often jumpy melodies and unusual keys, which keeps the improvisers on their toes.
The quartet has played throughout Europe and completed successful tours of Canada, New Zealand and Australia. June/July 2010 The Eric Boeren 4tet visit Canada & USA.
“It broke into joyful collective improvisation – sometimes lightly, sometimes with an explosive starburst effect. Sometimes it achieved real counterpoint, sometimes just startling instants of simultaneous exclamation. Boeren played a long narrow cornet, so clean and bright that it sounded silvery, like the plating of his instrument.”
“When Eric Boeren’s 4tet isn’t playing the music of Ornette Coleman, they are playing the music of Ornette Coleman. That is to say, with a Dutch swing. The leader and cornetist began playing covers in the early 1990s, releasing several quartet recordings of Coleman’s music with Cross Breeding (BVHaast, 1997), Joy Of A Toy (BVHaast, 2001), and Soft Nose (BVHaast, 2001). And while this album Song For Tracey The Turtle only refers to two Coleman tracks directly, the influence is quite palpable. Without direct allusion to the original Coleman quartet or the later Old And New Dreams band of Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Ed Blackwell, and Charlie Haden, Boeren along with saxophonist Michael Moore, bassist Wilbert de Joode and drummer Paul Lovens present music that Ornette Coleman circa 1960 would easily recognise and the 2010 Ornette might love. This disc was taken from a 2004 concert broadcast by Belgian radio and not heard by Boeren until 2008. His quartet is in fine form, frolickingly playing with extended technique to broaden the seemingly simple music Boeren wrote with Coleman in mind. The music is arranged to allow each player plenty of space. Michael Moore and Wilbert de Joode are featured on “Charmes,” speaking hushed lines to each other. It’s almost as if they’re aside, especially when Boeren takes off with some licks and Lovens whips up the energy. The 4tet seems to have a sense of how to shred a composition, only to reassemble it without a mark. Even their “Free” piece maintains the quartet’s logic. The gentle “Memo” at barely over a minute segues into Eubie Blake’s “Memories Of You,” played straight by Moore’s clarinet and Boeren’s muted cornet with all the sentiment and attitude the song deserves. The disc ends with the 10-minute “Squirrel Feet/The Legend Of Bebop,” a part Coleman/part Boeren creation which pulls music from Coleman’s The Art of the Improvisers (Atlantic, 1961) recording, but builds upon a 21st century band concept with 20 years of experience. The quartet is unflappable, assembling the melody before breaking it into several pieces to be reconfigured into a blues swing. Smile, Ornette, smile.”
Mark Corroto, www.allaboutjazz.com
The Amsterdam creative music scene continues to enjoy a period of tremendous fecundity, reaping the fruits of seeds sown starting in the 60’s, and this bountiful, eminently listenable disc clearly demonstrates as much.
“Joy Of A Toy” is a follow-up on Boeren’s 1995 recording “Cross Breeding” (BIMhuis #5), which likewise explored the compositions of Ornette Coleman, intermingled with the cornettist’s own Colemanesque concoctions. Where the earlier disc utilised three different ensembles, this time the personnel is stable, or perhaps better to say it stays the same.
I’ve had a number of opportunities to enthuse over Michael Moore lately. This outing doesn’t make me veer from that path: Moore is outstanding, a great front-line collaborator with Boeren (who’s got punch to his phrasing and a pleasingly weathered tone), a powerful interactive group improviser, and at the pinnacle of his instrumental abilities on clarinets and alto sax. The two hornmen have worked together for years in Available Jelly – whose records on Moore’s Ramboy label are well worth seeking out – and such deep common experience definitely shows.
Ornette’s music in particular requires relaxation, even at times a blissful raggedness (that’s one secret of turning freebop tunes like “Free” or “Jayne” and ballads like “Peace” into effective vehicles for collective improvisation – don’t be too reverent), which is hard to procure from new partnerships. Moore and Boeren are successful at capturing the core of the Coleman/Cherry quartet sound, even as they recode the music as thoroughly contemporary.
Boeren’s own tunes are interdigitated with the Coleman tracks (all pre – “Free Jazz”, as well as the Gershwin standard “Embraceable You”, which O.C. covered on “This I s Our Music”), and in two cases (tracks 5 and 8), they flow together as medleys. It’s easy to hear the Ornette influence in Boeren’s bouncy, playful “The Elevation Of Colin Evans”, which contains a melodic bass line directly related to Ornette’s classic “Peace”, which they cover. Rather than conceal the connection, he ran the tracks next to one another, inviting comparison. Daring. Smart.
As in any open-minded ensemble delving into metrical time, the rhythm section is absolutely crucial. On “Joy Of A Toy”, it’s flawless. Han Bennink swings, pings and flings unerringly, with complete command, as usual, and his boisterousness is a catalyst for more energetic free play. Wilbert de Joode is equally impressive – his muscular, rough, gut-stringed sound (nice and high in the mix) is unlike anbody else’s, and has impeccable time and timing. He works with Bennink in the super Cor Fuhler Trio, too, and they’ve calibrated outrageous interpersonal radar. Listen to them lock arms on “Written In Red”. Joy indeed!
Boeren and his band follow the tribute dictum: Pay homage by making your own music, by making the music your own.”
John Corbett, Donwbeat