Tobias Delius (foto: Cees vd Ven)
De Engelse tenorsaxofonist Tobias Delius wordt vaak gezien als de man van de oerkreet en van het grote, grove gebaar. Toch leidt hij ensembles met onalledaagse bezettingen, die uitnodigen tot subtiele muziek. Een voorbeeld daarvan is het Tobias Delius Kwartet, waarvan de bezetting van tenorsaxofoon, cello, contrabas en slagwerk spannende eigentijdse improvisatiemuziek mogelijk maakt. De composities van Delius en (cellist) Tristan Honsinger kunnen door ieder groepslid spontaan in de improvisaties ingebracht worden. Ook beïnvloeden de composities de muzikale ontwikkeling: ze kunnen situaties in gang zetten, beëindigen of slechts onderbreken. Delius legt uit: “Decisions are taken so quickly, people actually see the process working on the spot – the body language and everything – and people realize we’re not playing some preconceived product. Although there’s loads of tunes, laying them out actually happens on the spur of the moment. The personalities, the presence of the players, they way they blend – people seem to react to it.” Delius ontving de Boy Edgar Prijs in 2003. De jury schreef: “ The jury greatly appreciates Delius’s idiosyncratic treatment of the jazz tradition, which not only manifests itself in his highly characteristic sound, rich with the reverberations of past tenor giants, but also in his musical approach, in which ensemble interaction is vital.”
Tobias Delius - tenorsax en klarinet
Tristan Honsinger - cello
Joe Williamson - contrabas
Han Bennink - slagwerk
The Heron (ICP 033, 1997)
Toby’s Mloby (ICP 034, 1999)
Pelikanismus (ICP 039, 2001)
Luftlucht (ICP 048, 2010)
De overige muzikanten van het kwartet – Honsinger, bassist Joe Williamson en drummer Han Bennink – doen nauwelijks onder aan de kwaliteiten van de leider. Vooral Bennink is ontzettend op dreef. Hij stuwt en swingt, vult aan en voegt toe daar waar nodig is. Dus, inventief en muzikaal. Van het begin tot eind wordt door een ieder het zeer hoge niveau vast gehouden in een avontuurlijke en uitermate gevarieerde muzikale impro-jazz ontdekkingsreis.
Jacques Los: JazzPodium.com, 18 september 2010
Het eerste stuk op Luftlucht laat meteen horen tot wat dit kwartet in staat is: van gevatte call & response-spelletjes in de traditie van de Europese improvisatie, tot rumoerige, in de jazztraditie gewortelde passages, het zit er allemaal in. De muzikanten laten ruimte voor elkaar en hebben er geen probleem mee om even toe te kijken hoe hun collega’s weerwerk bieden. Op andere momenten teren ze op elkaars bijdragen en geven ze onverwacht een draai aan het geheel. Opmerkelijk is vooral hoe natuurlijk alles evolueert. Soms zingt de cello haast romantisch en speelt Delius een luchtige melodie, terwijl Bennink tezelfdertijd een marsritme lijkt aan te houden. Iets later ben je zo opgezogen door die wisselwerking tussen Honsinger en Delius, dat het je gewoon ontgaan is dat Bennink er van onder gemuisd is om langzaam maar zeker aan een spanningsboog te beginnen. Sommige nummers nemen hun tijd om een verhaal te vertellen, andere houden het weer bij gevatte statements. Het meest succesvol is het kwartet echter wanneer het vanuit een schijnbare willekeur een weg naar buiten zoekt, meerdere stijlen en ritmes aandoet,terwijl de goesting ervan afdruipt. Al bij al gaat het om vrij klassieke invloeden, maar dan erg speels verpakt met een kleurrijk lint er rond. Als Bennink erbij betrokken is, dan is de swing nooit ver weg, en ook nu zijn er meerdere passages die muziek uit de jaren veertig koppelen aan moderne improvisatie.
Op die manier werd Luftlucht een oerdegelijke plaat, bij elkaar gespeeld door een band die heel goed weet wat zijn troeven zijn en zich overduidelijk amuseert. En het lijkt allemaal zo gemakkelijk. Zo gemakkelijk.
Guy Peters: Goddeau webzine, 6 September 2010
The tenor saxophonist's quartet is one of the most exciting working units in contemporary jazz, moving effortlessly from hard swinging post-bop to New Dutch wackiness, from spare pointillist extended techniques to woozy, cheesy waltzes, and they're as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. Bennink's legendary antics – mercifully less in evidence this time – contrasted well with the deadpan but deadly precise Williamson, and, unlike the terrifyingly intense Honsinger, perched over his cello like a bird of prey, Delius looked so damn relaxed he nearly fell over backwards. But he was certainly on the ball, and the whole history of the tenor sax was on display, including Lester Young and Ben Webster – Delius's elegant velvety tone makes a welcome change from the overkill of much fire music – in what was an accomplished and highly enjoyable set from four master musicians.
Dan Warburton: Paris Transatlantic, feb 2007
Delius oozes creativity both as an arranger and as a tenor saxophonist. He playfully prodded not only perfect tone from his horn, but also random sounds that enhanced, rather than detracted from, his far-ranging compositions.
That his quartet consists of a cohort of perfect musical revolutionaries only perfects the mix. Drummer Han Bennink's playing was frenetic and irreverent, but never anything less than sympathetic to the music's overall tone. The band's secret weapon, however, was cellist Tristan Honsinger, who, curled like a mad scientist over his instrument, provided contextual embellishments that simulated horn charts and Gypsy-jazz jangles. Oddly enough, the band, while playing serious and challenging music, offered some of the most accessible music of the four-day festival, if only for its willingness - its insistence, even - to swing.
Will Stewart, Ann Arbor News, 2005
In the niche-oriented world of major-league jazz, it's almost unfashionable to be so multi-faceted a player as Han Bennink. Bennink is one of the unfortunately rare musicians whose abilities and interests span the music's entire spectrum, from Dixieland to free. His straight-ahead playing is absolutely convincing — his time is solid, his sense of swing strong, and his technique flawless. He also possesses the requisite qualities of a free jazz virtuoso; Bennink's ability to interact quickly and creatively with horn players and pianists is great, as is his ear for timbral contrasts. What ultimately makes Bennink special is his manifest love for the music, a love that inclines him to tear down the cardboard walls that too often separate different schools of jazz. At his best, with colleagues who share his all-encompassing stylistic embrace, Bennink plays the continuum of jazz as an instrument unto itself.
Bennink began playing drums while in his teens under the influence of his father, a classical percussionist. He played with hometown musicians in the early '60s. Between 1962 and 1969, Bennink backed local American jazz greats like Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Eric Dolphy on their visits to Holland. In 1963, he formed a quartet that included pianist Misha Mengelberg, which played the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival. In the mid-'60s, Bennink began to play free jazz with the likes of Mengelberg and Willem Breuker. In 1967, those three founded the Instant Composer's Pool, a not-for-profit organization designed to promote the Dutch jazz avant-garde. Around that same period, Bennink began continuing associations with the saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey, trombonist Alex Schlippenbach, trumpeter Don Cherry, and the Globe Unity Orchestra. In the '70s and '80s, Bennink led and played as sideman on a number of sessions on the FMP, Incus, and Soul Note labels. In the late '80s, Bennink started, with cellist Ernst Reijseger and saxophonist Michael Moore, the Clusone Trio, which became perhaps the percussionist's most ideal performance vehicle. Much in demand as a solo player, Bennink also plays with ICP, Eric Boeren 4tet, Tobias Delius 4tet, Fuhler/Bennink/deJoode and Michiel Scheen 4tet.
Tobias Delius, born in Oxford in 1954, began playing saxophone in 1980 in the German Ruhr region. In 1983/84 he lived in Mexico City where he played in the “Cuarteto Mexicano de Jazz” led by pianist Francixco Téllez. Delius moved to Amsterdam in 1984 and studied for a short while at the Sweelinck Conservatorium. He quickly became involved with Amsterdam improvisers and dropped his studies to immerse himself in the improvised music scene. In 1990 he was awarded the Podiumprijs, and in 2003 he won the Boy Edgar Prijs. He has worked in Europe and overseas with such musicians as Steve Lacy, Louis Moholo’s Viva-la-black, Bill Frisell, Mark Feldman and Trio Clusone, Misha Mengelberg, Steve Beresford, Jeb Bishop, Kent Kessler, Hamid Drake and Ray Anderson. Tobias Delius leads his own quartet with Tristan Honsinger, Joe Williamson and Han Bennink. The CDs “The Heron”, “Toby’s Mloby” and “Pelikanismus” were enthusiastically received both at home and abroad. Delius has a duo with bassist Wilbert de Joode, forms a trio with keyboard player Cor Fuhler and various drummers (Hamid Drake and Paul Lovens to name just two), and initiated the Trio San Francisco with reed players Sean Bergen and Daniele D’Agaro. He has recently formed apa ini, a group with Wilbert de Joode, Hilary Jeffery (trombone) and Serigne Gueye (djembe). He can be heard in a variety of groups, including ICP, Available Jelly, Sean Bergin’s MOB, Chris Abelen Quintet, Astronotes, Frank van Bommel Quartet and Curtis Clark.
The cellist Tristan Honsinger (Vermont, 1949) began cello lesson when he was nine and was already giving frequent cello concerts by the age of twelve. After studying classical cello in Boston Honsinger moved to Montreal to avoid military service. It was in Canada that he became interested in improvised music. He moved to Europe in 1978, playing everywhere. He is now based in Amsterdam and Bologna. Honsinger is a remarkable presence, with the facial mobility of a slapstick actor. This theatrical side always comes to the fore in the various groups with whom he plays. He has worked a great deal with dancers, notably Katie Duck. In 1991 he experimented with three string layers (violin, cello, bass) and percussion in Fields in Miniature. His group This, That and The Other drew extensively from Italian folk music. He has been involved in many projects with Cecil Taylor and with Sean Bergin and is a long standing member of ICP and the Tobias Delius 4tet.
He has said: "Simple things fascinate me, simple stories and simple characters. It's not that I write for children in particular, but I think they would understand it very well. I usually get the best reactions from an audience with a good mix of children and adults. I don't like to play for one particular age group. It is almost a necessity for me to compose in the form of stories and texts. It gives me ideas and it does help the musicians in their improvisation if they can think: this story is about a little man who takes a walk and experiences this, that and the other. It also helps the audience, it gives them something to hold on to."
Erik van de Berg wrote: "Honsinger seems never to have completely lost his childhood fantasy. His compositions are like a child’s drawing, even more like a story form Winnie the Pooh - awkward and touchingly simple, but full of meaning if one is prepared to look further. And there’s good reason to do just that: if you pay attention you’ll notice how complicated the structure really is. It’s fascinating music that twists and turns, and underneath the deceptively simple surface lies a primitive but intelligent counterpoint.
The Canadian Joe Williamson is one of the most in demand bassists of the European improvisation scene, noted for his flexibility and empathy. He is a steady fixture in Tobias Delius groups, has played with Steve Beresford, Evan Parker, Aki Takase and Ab Baars, among others. He is a member of Kletka Red, Thomas Borgmann's Boom Box and Martin Siewert's Trapist, he plays in a duo with Olaf Rupp, and can frequently be heard in groups with the drummer Tony Buck.
Vanavond presenteren Mark Haanstra & Oene van Geel hun debuutalbum Shapes of Time. Speciaal voor deze tour hebben ze het eigenzinnige Brits-Colombiaanse duo Bitch ’n Monk uitgenodigd tijdens de releasetour ook een set voor haar rekening te nemen.Lees meer