Bik Bent Braam


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If Duke Ellington were alive in the 1990s, it would not be difficult to imagine him composing and arranging music like this. As with the Duke, Michiel Braam is a talented pianist, but his real forte is making the orchestra (in this case a stellar 13-piece conglomeration) an extension of himself. With such stalwarts as trumpeter Eric Boeren, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, and alto saxophonist Bart van der Putten, the all-Dutch group blows hot and cold, incorporating styles from swing to avant-garde in a romp of considerable artistic merit. Braam's original renditions of "Clarabell" and "Howdy Doody" (no relation to the theme song) are not only humorous (in the tradition of vintage Carla Bley), but magnificently performed. Tuba players Peter Haex and Patrick Votrian and bassist Wilbert de Joode add a solid bottom to a stunning recording.

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