Willem Breuker Kollektief

Parade

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AllMusic Review by

This is one of Breuker's most successful albums of the '90s though, ironically, not for his own compositions but for those of others. Three of the works here are by early- and mid-20th century composers, including Erik Satie's rarely performed "Parade," which receives a thorough and delightful workout, with the Kollektief unloading the proverbial kitchen sink of sound effects -- including pistol shots -- and giving a good indication of exactly how radical this score must have sounded when it was premiered in 1917. The almost obligatory Kurt Weill number, here "Aggie's Sewing Machine Song," is performed with Breuker's usual zest for that composer's work. Even so, the lesser known "La Java Martienne" by Alain Goraguer and Boris Vian, an off-kilter waltz, is even more alluring, with baritone sax and accordion trading lovely melodic lines. Breuker's own "Zaanse Pegels" is a series of five strung-together ideas that have their moments (particularly the composer's own gutsy bass clarinet solo) but, like much of his later work, sounds a bit cold, calculated, and arbitrarily linked.

The unexpected highlight of the session turns out to be pianist Henk de Jonge's suite "Expectations," a wildly veering journey through jazz, country & western, and Morricone land. The band really comes alive here, ripping through the tightly arranged and ferociously swinging charts and descending (ascending?) into hilarity as the musicians disintegrate into hitherto unknown (even to its own members, one guesses) subunits like the "Amsterdam Arts Trio," a rare guitar/viola/zither ensemble! Continuing on, the Kollektief performs a teasing imitation of the free jazz/noise group Last Exit ("Last Entrance") and provides a backdrop for an astonishing banjo attack by trombonist Gregg Moore (who knew?) whilst Breuker growls out a tune like a drunken but vociferous saloon denizen. The whirlwind closing section, "Verbunkos," with its enticing echoes of the Balkans, brings things to a very satisfying close. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:36
2 3:37
3 5:33
4 2:16
5 2:20
6 3:46
7 4:29
8 6:02
9 5:50
10 3:18
11 4:33
12 2:13
13 3:24
14 0:55
15 0:56
16 3:41
17 2:34
blue highlight denotes track pick