Misha Mengelberg

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Impromptus Review

by Joslyn Layne

This solo recording by Misha Mengelberg can become frustrating at times through its sheer silliness. At ease and in a very playful, goofball mood (even for him), Mengelberg delivers sometimes-relentless volleys of silly voices (when he feels like keeping the notes and chords company) and simplistic or singsongy note-note notes -- repetitive, winking mischief. And just when all of this nearly sends listeners into a stupor, with a flourish up the keys he kicks into momentary bouts of excellent playing. The last cut is actually, on the whole, quite lovely, sort of a reprise after the carnival ride, which ends with him playing around with "Tea for Two" references. If you are a fan of the character, the unique person, that is Misha Mengelberg, check Impromptus out, because his personality comes through loud and clear on this one. This album isn't really appropriate for introducing someone to Mengelberg's music, but if you're in the mood for a relaxed afternoon of fun and games with him, then by all means give it a listen.

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