Tobias Delius


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The Dutch have spawned a wealth of heavyweight musicians, and one of these, Tobias Delius, both as a leader and sideman has pursued an independent path with usually good results. His many groups are always quality efforts, and this one is no exception, with a talented two-string section of cellist Tristan Honsinger and bassist Joe Williamson coupled with talented celebrity drummer Han Bennink. Delius is best when he infuses humor in his writing and performing, as he does, for example, on the playful "M"cke," on which his staccato attack and the circus-like melody are a winning combination. Delius is equally adept on tenor sax and clarinet, and his solos on the latter bring out more pensive qualities. Some of the tunes drag a bit, and others, though well-played, do not seem to add much to his considerable discography. Honsinger's "Black Horse ¡ú Chives" is the longest piece on the recording, and probably the highlight, as Bennink relishes his bombastic supporting role and Tobias flourishes his tenor, slowly building ferociously until he nearly bursts and then suddenly cutting the volume to a whisper. The piece combines some of the best of the Dutch tradition, with its almost frivolous subtunes used as a launching pad for some strong solo forays. Honsinger is a big plus throughout the album, with his cello undergirding with bird-like fierceness and emotional depth.

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