Reviews that mention Chris Abelen
November 28, 2005
Lucas Niggli Zoom Ensemble
By Ken Waxman
November 28, 2005
Be careful when you count the number of musicians on these sessions. For while Space may seem to be by a 10-piece band and Sweat by a 12-piece one, each disc actually features an established improv combo expanded with the members of a contemporary chamber ensemble plus one additional idiosyncratic soloist.
As a consequence of these expansions, the composer/ band leader of each disc Dutch trombonist Chris Abelen on Space and Swiss percussionist Lucas Niggli on Sweat have a fuller palate of textures, colors, pitches and rhythms available. Both CDs are memorable, although Sweat has a slight edge. The cause may be that its a studio session, whereas Space was recorded live. Or it may be that Ensemble Neue Musik Zürich (ENMZ) is a closer fit with the drummers Zoom Ensemble plus British soundsinger Phil Minton, then the Zapp! String Quartet is with the trombonists quintet and special guest, clarinetist Ab Baars. MORE
February 17, 2003
Bvhaast CD 0202
Theres something -- and hope it isnt economics -- which finds so many outstanding performances by improvisers from the Netherlands, organized around little big bands. Sure, smaller and larger combinations turn out memorable work, but when exceptional Dutch improv first comes to mind so do Misha Mengelbergs ICP Orchestra, Willem Breuker Kollektiefs and, more recently Michael Braams Bik Bent Braam and the ensembles led by Martin Fondse.
Since so many of these bands are the vision of one person, writing and arranging for 10 to 12 players allows room for Hollands idiosyncratic soloists, with just enough musical heft on tap to move the sessions past blowing sessions or free-for-all improvisations. MORE