Reviews that mention Andy Altenfelder

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

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