ZILT plays Mengelberg & Ellington is the project born from the ongoing musical conversation between Jasper Blom and Ian Cleaver on Just Listen. They met at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where Blom, a renowned saxophonist, was teaching – and Cleaver, a talented young trumpet player, came to study. Their lessons grew into jam sessions, and soon they took their music to the small stage of a whiskey bar in the center of Amsterdam: Café ZILT. With Thomas Pol on bass and Wouter Kuhne on drums they played compositions by the idiosyncratic Dutch Jazz pianist and composer Misha Mengelberg, balanced with pieces by the legendary bandleader and composer Duke Ellington.
The album is available in Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 and DXD plus Stereo DSD 512. It is also available as an 180 gram LP. It is not available on SACD.
This album captures ZILT’s playful interpretation of this repertoire and the spontaneous and informal style they developed to match their material, calling to mind the small crowded stage on which their music evolved. We can hear Blom and Cleaver explore the boundaries between high and low art, popular and high-brow, in a musical dialogue between different generations and eras of Jazz.
Jasper Blom – Saxophone
Ian Cleaver – Trumpet
Thomas Pol – Bass
Wouter Kuhne – Drums
Total time: 00:41:04
|Analog to Digital Converter||
Horus, Merging Technologies at DSD 256
Van den Hul 3T, exclusive use
|HRP Mastering Engineer||
Mastering Room Speakers – Grimm LS1
Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps, Neumann, AKG
|Original Recording Format|
Rens Heijnis, Custom Design
Jared Sacks & Jonas Sacks
MCO Studio 1 in Hilversum, The Netherlands on June 15 & 16, 2020
|Release Date||August 23, 2022|
Saxophonist Jasper Blom not only enjoys a considerable reputation as a musician and band leader, but also as a teacher. Together with three students – trumpeter Ian Cleaver, double bassist Thomas Pol and drummer Wouter Kühne – he performed regularly in café Zilt, located on the Amsterdam Zeedijk. A real Jazz place where the underworld and music meet: an environment where the primal power of this genre comes into its own, just like in New Orleans at the beginning of the last century.
The quartet has specialized in performing the repertoire of the great Misha Mengelberg, a musician who has been able to surprise audiences for decades with his orthodox approach. On their first album, which is simply called ‘ZILT’, his compositions form the main part. We also find two pieces by Duke Ellington, which of course receive a Mengelberg treatment: ‘Azalea‘ and ‘I Like The Sunrise‘.
Trumpeter Cleaver is perhaps the greatest talent of the young generation: he has a nice splashing tone and the post-war Jazz in his pocket. The structure of this production is remarkable, in which almost every performed composition is alternated by a short interlude, which is called ‘Impro‘. A spirited performance of Mengelberg’s ‘Rollo III‘ is the start: the four musicians immediately give it a lot of gas to arrive at the well-known ‘Who’s Bridge‘ via a grinding interlude, which is given a nice messy performance. Cleaver makes a big impression with his lively trumpet playing and Blom answers him. In Ellington’s classic ‘Azalea‘ the tenor saxophonist takes the lead, with a completely unsentimental approach.
Full of irony, ZILT plays ‘Rumboon‘, another piece full of jokes and pranks by the Dutch grandmaster. It is clear that his musical legacy is in the best hands with this quartet. Full of question marks is the interpretation of the enigmatic ‘Rollo II‘, another Dadaist exercise. That after the song skillfully dismantled ‘I Like The Sunrise‘ is a sign of this ensemble’s artistic audacity. It is therefore not surprising that the musicians close the album with the insane ‘Blues After Piet‘: a piece full of detours and idiotic sounds.
A wonderful production, which is not only an embodiment of the best that Dutch jazz currently has to offer, but also a fitting tribute to Mengelberg!
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