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From Mengelberg to Stravinsky

thu 9 may 2024
Theme: Jazz

Saturday May 11th, 2024, 8:00 PM – Musicians Corner.

Today, programme maker Carolien Schönfeld gives all the space to her guest: pianist/composer/bandleader Robert Vermeulen. In addition to his own ensemble work, Vermeulen plays music from favorite sources of inspiration: Misha Mengelberg (photo), Steve Lacy, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and…Igor Stravinsky.

Who’s Bridge

We meet pianist Misha Mengelberg (1935-2017), the ‘Great Disruptor’, in 1994 in a trio band with bassist Brad Jones and drummer Joey Baron. His composition Who’s Bridge is a no-nonsense melody in a standard song form, supported by obvious harmonies. Of course it can’t stay that way – from the second improvisation chorus onwards things start to get out of hand, with harmony and metre being pushed aside. This is how we know our Mengelberg. The two supervisors adhere unperturbed to the schedule, something that always creates a pleasant tension. For those who do not (yet) know Mengelberg, this piece is a suitable starter.

Steve Lacy – Thelonious Monk The music of Thelonious Monk was a revelation for Misha Mengelberg. This also applies to the American soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (1934-2004). (And for Robert Vermeulen.) In 1958 Lacy went into the studio for his album Reflections-Steve Lacy Plays Thelonious Monk. He had already rehearsed more than thirty pieces by Monk and listened to his records hundreds of times. Reflections is the first LP on which a musician exclusively interprets Monk’s work. Immediately after the record’s release, Lacy brought a copy to his idol. Lacy: “He appreciated the album a lot.” And even better: when Monk asked him to play in his quintet, he couldn’t believe his luck.

Four in One is a tricky theme, with phrases of sixteenth notes (four pulses per beat). Hence the title.

In addition to Lacy, the quartet consists of pianist Mal Waldron, bassist Buell Neidlinger and drummer Elvin Jones.

In the 1980s, Steve Lacy and Misha Mengelberg collaborated. They recorded Monk compositions in various line-ups. Three kindred spirits.

Igor Stravinsky Stravinsky, creator of highbrow composed art music, emigrated from Europe to the United States in 1939. To boost his poor bank balance, he composed a number of pieces that could bring in money. One of these is Tango from 1940. It is an atypical piece for Stravinsky. Regularity and symmetry predominate: continuous four-quarter time, phrases of eight bars, clear and hardly changing key. Despite the typically Stravinskian syncopation, it is still danceable. There are various arrangements of Tango, ranging from piano solo to orchestra. —————————————-

Talking Cows and Under Construction are two ensembles, led by pianist Robert Vermeulen. You will hear a total of two pieces. Let us surprise you!

Details and Playlist in the Guide.

Musicians Corner – Carolien Schönfeld