Reviews that mention Willem Breuker

May 9, 2020

Willem Breuker & Han Bennink

New Acoustic Swing Duo
Corbett vs Dempsey CD 0066

Sun Ra

Heliocentric Worlds1 & 2 Revisited

Ezz-thetics 1103

Albert Ayler Quartets 1964

Spirits to Ghosts Revisited

ezz-thetics 1101

Baroque Jazz Trio

Baroque Jazz Trio + Orientasie/Largo

SouffleContinue Records CD fl0 56

Sam Rivers Quintet


NoBusiness Records NBCD 124

Something in the Air: Reissues Keep Genre-Defining Sessions in Circulation

By Ken Waxman

April 12, 2016

Willem Breuker Kollektief

Angoulême 18 Mail 1980
Fou Records FR-CD 9&10

Anthony Braxton & Derek Bailey

First Duo Concert

Emanem 5038

Brötzmann/Van Hove/Bennink


Corbett vs Dempsey CD 020

Free Jazz Group Wiesbaden

Frictions/Frictions Now

NoBusiness Records NBCD 79

Something In The Air: Preserving Rediscovered Free Music Classics

By Ken Waxman

Fully grasping the intricacies of musical history often depends on the availability of recorded documents. That’s why many musical histories are re-evaluated once hitherto little known performances become accessible. This is especially crucial when it comes to completely or mostly improvised sounds. Reissued and/or rediscovered sessions, which preserve ephemeral moments, confirm the music’s wide dissemination. More importantly they add the equivalent of additional sentences that provide a fuller understanding of the free music story. MORE

October 11, 2015

Alexander von Schlippenbach

Globe Unity
MPS DL (EAN/UPC 4250644881299)

Listening to this crucial session from nearly a half-century ago from the vantage point of 2015, suggests just how timeless some Free Jazz remains. Conversely it reminds us how much of its time programs like this one are. Globe Unity – the performance and LP which birthed a long-running European Free Music aggregation – appeared historically in between two Jazz milestones, John Coltrane’s Ascension in 1965 and Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun in 1968. Unlike the octet featured on the latter or the 11 players on Ascension, Globe Unity consists of 14 musicians, a small big band with strings, brass, reeds and percussion represented. MORE

October 7, 2012

Lest We Forget

Willem Breuker (1944-2010)
By Ken Waxman

The blend of anarchism, precision and humor suggested by Willem Breuker Kollektief (WBK), the name of the ensemble the Dutch saxophonist/composer led for 36 years until his death from lung cancer on July 23, 2010, underlined the fascinating contradictions in his music. A collective has everyone on equal footing no matter how skilled, yet this Kollektief had Breuker as the undisputed boss of a group of first-class soloists. Furthermore the sly joke in this wordplay was also reflected in the WBK’s on-stage horseplay. Breuker not only ensured that the unmistakable modern jazz played included themes by notated composers such as Kurt Weill and George Gershwin, but also a large helping of physical and instrumental comedy that might culminate in the vocalizing of a ’20 ditty like “Yes We Have No Bananas”. MORE

November 14, 2006

Peter Brötzmann

Atavistic ALP257CD

Pica Pica
Atavistic ALP258CD

Two more valuable CD reissues of Wuppertal, Germany-based saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s work for FMP in the 1980s once again show his versatility. One disk offers proof positive that the hard-driving reedist can easily hold up his side in an all-star trio configuration, while the other shows how he helps spark aural fireworks in a nonet situation.

Ironically the aptly-named Alarm almost ended up being more than a fanciful “blast from the past”. This Hamburg radio gig with a multi-national cast of nine Free Jazzers had to be interrupted after the 40 odd minutes captured on the disc were recorded because a phoned-in bomb threat meant that the audience, technicians and musicians had to quickly evacuate the hall. MORE

May 30, 2005

Guus Janssen and his Orchestra

Dancing Series

Leo Cupyers

Zeeland Suite & Johnny Rep Suite


By Ken Waxman

Mythmaking abounds in improvised music – as much in European free sounds as in American jazz – after all, this genre has been the romantic music for more than 100 years.

Sadly, empirical research can reinterpret many of those fables as efficiently as it demythologizes other subjects. This brings up the tales of anarchistic Dutch jazz/free music. Since the majority of jazz fans – i.e. North Americans – didn’t start to pay attention to the Netherlands until late 1980s, it appeared as if the mixture of zany humor and serious musicianship that characterized high-profile aggregations like the ICP Orchestra and Willem Breuker’s Kollektief (WBK) was a universal concept. Later bands lead by composers like pianists Guus Janssen and Michel Braam seemed to confirm this. MORE

February 7, 2005

Willem Breuker Kollektief

With Strings Attached

i compani


By Ken Waxman

Tributes, recreations and interpretations appear to fascinate advanced improvised musicians in the Netherlands even more so than in other places. Part of the reason is that instead of numberless CDs dedicated to Miles, Monk and Ellington, Dutch jazz and improv players and composers extend their accolades to other spheres.

Saxophonist Bo van de Graaf for one, has made the cornerstone of his work with the i compani band, multi-media tributes to Italian director Frederico Fellini and Nino Rota, who composed most of the soundtracks for that director’s films. Featuring rearrangements of Rota tunes, plus original works by van de Graaf and other members of the 11-piece ensemble, Fellini demonstrates how you can honor your influences without having to be a slave to existing material. MORE

December 2, 2002


Bvhaast CD 0204

Twenty-eight years after its organization, it appears as if there are rote expectations that must be met with every CD and live performance by the Willem Breuker Kollektief (WBK). The program, it seems, must include some thematic orchestral pastiche composed and arranged by leader Breuker, with space left for the band’s main jazz soloists, including himself; there has to be a rearrangement of a famous or obscure pop song; some early so-called classical piece must be recast; and space should be left for a tongue-in-cheek vocal (in English) by Breuker himself. MORE

April 19, 2002


In Holland
BVHaast 0101

To Remain
BVHaast CD 1601

Nearly 30 years after the creation of the Willem Breuker Kollektief you can refer to energetic reissues like these two and note how the Dutch 10-piece band has changed over time.

One of the Big Three post-Bop movers and shakers in Holland -- pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink are the other two -- saxophonist/composer Breuker was initially allied with the other two in the Instant Composers Pool (ICP). But, as a ferocious improviser who was as likely to turn up on sessions led by saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, vibist Gunter Hampel or trumpeter Don Cherry as on Dutch dates, he obviously had energy to spare. Furthermore, gifted with a broad if somewhat sardonic sense of humor and a broad theatrical sense, he was able to tailor compositions to parodistic happenings, stage presentations, TV shows and films. MORE

December 3, 2001


Globe Unity ’67 & ‘70
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 223 CD

Souvenirs of a time when “globe unity” meant more than the convergence of commercial or military interests, this CD of never-before-released tracks feature a small army of Euro improvisers luxuriating in the freedom promulgated by John Coltrane’s ASCENSION and The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra.

Formed in late 1966, following a Berlin Jazz Festival commission for founder/pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, the Globe Unity Orchestra (GUO) evolved over the years from this wild-and-wooly Energy ensemble to one that joined other European large groups in a concern for compositions. Besides, many might find that these two pieces, initially taped for German radio, more exciting than what came from the band afterwards. MORE

October 4, 2000


Heavy Days Are Here Again
Atavistic/Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP 207 CD

Nerve Beats
Atavistic/Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP 206 CD

If improv music was looked on like pop music, this 1981 Cuypers session would have the same currency as Neil Young's reunion dates with Crosby, Stills & Nash. (As a matter of fact some of the hairstyles on the HEAVY cover would have been right at home on vintage folk-rockers' heads).

Maybe that's stretching the point a bit. But, still, this free-for-all is notable not only because it was the first time pianist Cuypers and Breuker -- founding members of Breuker's zany Kollektief -- played together after an acrimonious Lennon & McCartney-style split up, but also because it was Breuker's first collaboration with Bennink after an even more distant estrangement. Oh, and the music's great too.