Ben Van Den Dungen

Heart of the Matter

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The members of the Ben Van Den Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk quintet were each in their 20s when this album was recorded. The Dutch group showed promise, and in the liner notes Sal Nestico asked the listener to "consider these cats and what they will sound like in years to come." In retrospect, the album sounds a bit dated. The performance is solid mainstream jazz, to be sure, and there are sparks throughout, but there is little to distinguish the totality of the sessions from other similar ones. Van Den Dungen wrote most of the tunes and they have a hard-driving, often modal approach popular at the time. Not much has been heard from the members of the quintet -- at least on this side of the Atlantic -- but there is a solid grasp by each of the hard-bop medium that presages potential stardom. This album, though, sounds largely derivative, and could have been made in Des Moines, IA just as easily as Monster, Holland.

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