August-9th-2006, 05:43 PM
the cantilena of speech
Misha Mengelberg - Afijn
I think this one is ICP's first DVD release, coproduced by Data (another Dutch label). Anyway, an essential item for any fan of the Dutch scene: you get a 77-minute documentary on Misha Mengelberg which is really well-done: interviews with him (in his best scruffy fatso Zen genius mode), with friends, with colleagues like Louis Andriessen, & with members of ICP, who seem to be a fun but long-suffering bunch--in fact Misha's inability to show up on time for a gig becomes a running theme throughout the video (at one point Misha remarks on the influence of seeing Duke Ellington in 1948 on him: he remembers that towards the end of the intermission Duke sat up there noodling on the piano, & the audience & bandmembers gradually straggled in: he expresses his fondness for the kind of music made by whoever happens to turn up, for whoever happens to turn up). Han Bennink is asked by the interviewer if Misha really is the leader of ICP: the answer is "Of course--it wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Misha. Aside from that, he does fuck-all." -- GREAT footage of Mengelberg's trio pre-Dolphy, of 1960s happenings & Fluxus-style events, of the ICP early on & concert footage from 1980 up to the present (my favourite is Peter Broetzmann as a stomping tenorman on a swing chart called "Brozziman"); a duo with Dave Douglas (who's also one of the talking heads). Shots of Misha teaching--at one point he starts crossing out notes in a student's counterpoint exercise, then gets to a passage & stops to admire it: "You have a four-note unison. The voices are all playing E. I like that." -- Dave Douglas mentions his surprise when Misha told him "the first ten minutes or so of the concert are going to be really, really bad music: that's just what I want."
The bonus material is a pretty interesting too. The lure for many will be the fascinating if totally exasperating 40-minute ICP gig with Braxton guesting: Braxton's absent for the first half, which centers on two workmen destroying some wooden chairs onstage & reconstructing them into a camel-shaped sculpture. At that point the band switches to a marchlike written passage which is played over & over again for the next 15 minutes or so, enough to drive you nuts; Braxton has a prankster role, butting in with his sax, making goatlike baahs or honks. -- But there are also two briefer ICP preformances (a lovely "Baltimore Oriole" included), two duos with Dave Douglas, a duo with Bennink (too brief!), a duet between Misha & his parrot (I assume the same track that's on the flipside of the ICP Dolphy release; the visuals are home movies of the traffic outside his flat, some of it played backwardsx in slo-mo), and my favourite, a 2-minute video of Misha's cat walking on the piano keys.
Disappointments: (1) I wish the bonus material contained some more of the archival material in the documentary: I'd love to see the early-1960s live gig from the Persepolis in its entirety, for instance, or some of the early ICP things; (2) the documentary is not indexed, making it impossible to locate segments easily. Otherwise, no complaints: this is a terrific DVD which has enough rare footage & anecdotal material to keep any New Dutch Swing fan happily absorbed.
August-11th-2006, 08:24 AM
Thanks, Nate. This looks like a must.
August-15th-2006, 05:29 PM
Can you buy this through Cadence? Obviously I could've looked this up online but I felt like bumping this past Lovano, who's been boring the hell out of me for about a decade.
August-16th-2006, 09:20 PM
the cantilena of speech
Lovano's back up front Cap'n: you're fighting a losing battle
It's carried by Verge, & I suspect that Cadence will eventually carry it as they stock ICP & Data discs. & probably DMG. It's brand new so may not have hit all the distributors in North America quite yet.
August-24th-2006, 07:49 AM
Originally Posted by Nate Dorward
I received this DVD last week. I was impressed too by that Mengelberg's recall. This dvd is a beautiful documentary on the magical Dutch jazz scene and its most famous iconoclasts. It makes a beautiful pair with recent, beautiful Han Bennink's DVD (plus cd) of his trio with Michiel Borstlap and Ernst Glerum, "BBG" even this dvd made by dutch documentarists (Henk Haselager)