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12 October 2011

Leo Cuypers - 'Theatre Music/Jan Rap En Z'n Maat' (BV Haast)

I love Dutch jazz and one of the things I like the most about it is how melodic and beautiful it can be while being simultaneously exploratory - brash, confident, and sugary all at the same time.  Leo Cuypers I first encountered when Atavistic did that Unheard Music Series because they issued the Heavy Days are Here Again CD (which we'll get to on the other blog, soon).  His style was wonderfully melodic, but also really fast and dense.  This record is really just called Theatre Music (and it's exactly that) but side 2 is one long piece, belonging to one production called Jan Rap En Z'n Maat, and the spine has only that listed, so I'm not sure exactly what to call this.  The record is mostly a trio of Cuypers on piano, Arjen Gorter on bass, and Martin van Duynhoven on drums - but with Willem Breuker on side 2 with his various reeds.  Breuker produced the whole thing also.  The four tracks on side one must work well as theatre music as they are janty and rolling.  The trio is tight and there's times when the ivories are coursing with electricity, making me want to lie down and just feel the colours wash over me.  The flip side is almost narratively cohesiv.  The opener, 'Jan Rap at 8'30" a.m.' begins with the same trio as side one, with thick clusters of major thirds and perfect fourths, chopped out ferociously but without aggression.  When Breuker comes in, about halfway through the 7 minutes of the piece, it's triumphant.  Cuypers supports Breuker's sax with a bed of contrapuntal chords, and then when they temporarily go in diferent directions it's mesmerising.  Other highlights include 'The House (3 scenes)', which features some thick fuzzy synth underneath the piano, the first of 3 repetitions of a melody in three different arrangements - and the other long piece, 'Triste', a slow, moody exploration based around a rigid, descending theme.  This is the centerpiece of the side and indicates a dramatic shift, cause remember, this is theatre music, right?  It's revisited on synthesizer in the LP's closing minute, a fitting Vincent Price-style conclusion to this LP (and, incidentally, to my C-section [no, don't say it]).  Gorter and van Doynhoven are so crisp throughout that everything is on-point and accurate, yet somehow I wouldn't classify Theatre Music in the "Appolonian" side of the jazzsphere - there's far too much liquidity between the precision.

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