Ab Baars

Veer and Haul

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The choice of nautical terms in this album's title is easily understandable. With the combined efforts of Ab Baars and Mariëtte Rouppe van der Voort's lungs, there is enough wind blowing around our ears to make it hard to decide where to turn our attention. Baars, one of the dignified members of the ICP Orchestra, plays clarinet and tenor sax in these pieces recorded on four different occasions between 2000 and 2002. Rouppe van der Voort (one sixth of The Six Winds) uses alto sax on half of the 14 improvisations and touches flute, alto flute, piccolo and sopranino sax in the other ones. The chemistry between these two is exemplary, so is the sharpness of their playing. Each piece is kept short, focused and to the point. Both explore extended techniques, from circular breathing to multiphonics and microsonics. Rouppe van der Voort performs miracles in dexterity on the piccolo in "E si fussi pisci," turning it into a penny whistle sliding out of control. Stopping on a dime 45 seconds before the end of the piece, she prompts a quiet and fragile coda that is so perfect you'll go back to the booklet to make sure it was not scored. Other highlights include the busy and playful title track, the tender "Duet for John and Bob" and "Bells," where Baars launches into a soulful non-idiomatic tenor sax solo. Veer and Haul is a title that evokes big ships performing clumsy maneuvers, but Baars and Rouppe van der Voort's lines are sketching a fascinating dance.

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