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Mengelberg and Honing Playing

thu 2 nov 2023
Theme: Jazz

The Art of the Improvisers on Saturday November 4 23:00 CET features three acts from the International Avant-Garde: the Joris Teepe/Don Braden Quintet, The Persons, and the duo Yuri Honing & Misha Mengelberg. Saxophonist Honing (1965) and pianist Mengelberg (1935-2017) performed an unprepared improvisation during their first meeting. The result is recorded on the album Playing.

Mengelberg en Honing are not contemporaries, and not an obvious duo stylistically either. Mengelberg is one of the founding fathers of Dutch improvisation. Honing had a conservatory education and chose a more traditional route, but he was interested!  When he was given carte blanche by the Wereldomroep, he called Mengelberg. It proved to be a brilliant move. Honing now considered Playing (1998), with twelve duo improvisations, to be one of his most important albums. The collaboration was successful and continued for several years.

The opening is a miniature lasting 1 minute and 30 seconds: Die Berge Schuetzen Die Heimat. The piano enters and sounds like the beginning of a Schubert song. But it isn’t, of course – with Mengelberg the ‘disruption’ is never far away. After that disruption, “Schubert” makes a surprising return.

The title Die Berge Schuetzen Die Heimat can also be found on the CD Four In One (2002) by the Misha Mengelberg Quartet. Let’s check it out. But guess what? That’s…that’s a completely different piece!? *)

Taman Negara, a National Park in Malaysia, is the oldest tropical jungle in the world. A bird paradise. And we hear that. Pianist Mengelberg borrows a number of tropes from Olivier Messiaen – the French composer and bird song expert who has set dozens of aviaries to music. The sax happily sings along in the choir.

The duo also plays a standard, Yesterdays by Jerome Kern. Listen to what they make of that!

Playing is followed by music by the Joris Teepe/Don Braden Quintet. The programme concludes with The Persons.

Click here for the playlist.

The Art of the Improvisers – Bert Broere

*) Do you know the explanation? If you do, let the Concertzender know. We would appreciate it.