Cut a Caper

Cut a Caper

by Ig Henneman SextetIg Henneman Sextet


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The Ig Henneman Sextet's debut album was recorded at the end of a December 2010 "Kindred Spirits" tour, in which the Dutch violist introduced this ensemble comprised mainly of musicians who had extensive histories with her. Reedman Ab Baars, bassist Wilbert de Joode, pianist Marilyn Lerner, and clarinetist Lori Freedman are all veterans of Henneman's musical universe; only trumpeter Axel Dörner is a newcomer. As heard on 2011's Cut a Caper, these artists are indeed entirely in sync with Henneman and also with her artistic inspirations, including Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Giuffre, Misha Mengelberg, and Morton Feldman -- who would qualify as kindred spirits themselves. Henneman's albums require active listening, and Cut a Caper is no exception, particularly given its wide dynamic range, from probing explorations that hardly disturb the silence ("Rivulet," "Precarious Gait") to free jazz cacophony (the title track). In this meld of avant jazz, creative improvisation, and modern chamber composition (notably without a drummer), casual listeners may hear subversions of forward momentum, but close attention indicates something more complicated than that. In the opener, "Moot," the bandmembers' entry over Henneman's intro viola figure reveals that her solo angularity was actually syncopating a dirgelike march cadence, while a later insistent viola repetition proves equally effective whether accompanied by extended horn and reed lines or something far jauntier, even cartoonish. In such curious juxtapositions, the introduction of a second or third musical element can entirely change your perception of the first -- evident not only when the bandmembers add their unpredictable voices to the leader's, but also when "Moot" ends surprisingly, after a tumultuous middle section, with a fade-out suggesting lullabies and nursery rhymes. Lerner's herky-jerky piano commences "Fervid" in a role not unlike Henneman's viola in "Moot," and again the entry of the other musicians -- clipped rhythmic counterpoint from Freedman (on bass clarinet) and de Joode; drawn-out lines from Baars (on tenor saxophone) and Dörner -- redefine the music and move it to other places: through woolly free jazz into a precision suggesting Louis Andriessen's hocketing. The title track is perhaps one of the disc's most conventional numbers, with tight chamber jazz themes bracketing a collective unraveling, but most telling is the minute-and-a-half intro of breaths through mouthpieces, almost certainly involving Dörner. That Henneman chose Dörner as the only sextet member who had not been in one of her other ensembles speaks of her intent to make this band a vehicle for pure sound exploration, extended techniques, and minute gestures -- of which there is no shortage on Cut a Caper. Again, the album's solo and duo statements might be heard as further interruptions to the momentum, but check out the middle of "Light Verse," as the clarinetist (Baars? Freedman?), overlapping Dörner, tempers the trumpeter's pure staticky noise with flurries of clear notes before picking up his challenge and moving into skronky squeals after he departs. This music's flow and continuity are always there if you're paying close enough attention to hear them.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/01/2011
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 8713897902693
catalogNumber: 5637792243
Rank: 164211

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