Willem Breuker

Sendai Sjors + Sendai Sjimmie

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The association of these two Dutch musicians goes back into the mid-'60s European free music scene. While Bennink remained active in the world of free improvisation, Breuker opted for the more controlled arrangements and songs of his Kollektief. This live recording from Sendai, Japan, is one of the very few examples of Breuker performing outside of his ensemble or various film and theater projects after 1974. It appears to be an entirely improvised concert and it might be hazarded that Breuker's absence from this musical genre for over a decade had taken its toll. Too often he falls back on certain tricks and routines that serve him well in the more structured context of the Kollektief but sound contrived here. For example, his solo bass clarinet feature, "Tlam," follows his "standard" alternation of a softly swinging straight-ahead theme and roars of screeching free noise that Kollektief listeners have heard more than a few times. Elsewhere, he seems content to follow Bennink along, utilizing cadences with a somewhat marchlike flavor or, worse, simple rambling asides that grow increasingly tired and noncommittal. Bennink gamely attempts to prod things forward (when he picks up his own soprano for a brief soprano saxophone duet, matters do pick up some), but to little avail. Not one of the finer efforts from either of these generally superb musicians, Sendai Sjors + Sendai Sjimmie is for completists only.

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