Monday 25 April 2016

On Stage: Beets, Bennink, Herman, Jacobs @ Tivoli Vredenburg

A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join him to go see a jazz concert with pianist Peter Beets, drummer Han Bennink, sax player Benjamin Herman and bassist Ruud Jacobs. Well if you line up these giants of course I want to see that!

Beets, Bennink, Herman, Jacobs at Tivoli Vredenburg, April 24 2016

These four musicians really don't need any introduction, all of them top notch musicians and the best jazz has to offer. Benjamin Herman of course is one of my favourite musicians and Han Bennink simply is a legendary drummer you can't see often enough. Beets explains they did a one time show once and got requests to play in this line up more often and here they are. If you put extraordinary musicians, together this doesn't always mean you automatically will get more than the sum of their parts, but in this case you get a lot more, at this Sunday afternoon concert which is a rare one for me.

Of course they have played together in some way or the other but not in this line-up with all four of them on one stage. It's a delight to watch these musicians work one another, challenge each other and have so much fun. Beets' piano play is sparkling and clear, with notes tumbling over each other. Jacobs' contrabass is groovy and glues everything together wonderfully. Herman's alto saxophone play sounds lush as always, with that classic sound and Bennink simply is out of this world with powerful and dynamic play, getting the most out of his drum kit and surroundings. He proves that the drum kit isn't the instrument, but the drummer is.

Most of all this is all that music should be about: having fun on stage and projecting that energy and pleasure on the audience. The quartet plays many compositions by Misha Mengelberg and a few other standards, sometimes discussing on stage what album it was originally on or what the actual name is. This only underlines the relaxed and unconstrained atmosphere they create today, where they seem to thrive on and everything is grooving with a lot of swing. In the end this was a great way to spend this Sunday afternoon and hopefully we can see this quartet play a lot more in the future.

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