Blow by Blow

When it came out I already wanted to say something about this beautiful album, but then I forgot and there wasn’t a real reason in quite some time. As if I need a reason?! Well, I guess I somehow do. Anyway, what better reason than letting you all know about the Edison, a prestigious musical award, Benjamin Herman recently won for his album ‘Campert’. An album based upon the original score Herman made earlier for a documentary my friend Jeroen S. Rozendaal had been working on named ‘tijd duurt een mens lang’ about dutch poet and writer Remco Campert.

Many people know Herman as being the band leader of his legendary New Cool Collective and NCC Big Band, but the alto saxophone player Herman is above all a jazz cat. He’s the only young musician I ever heard who’s able to combine modern jazz with a sort of nostalgic or pure feel one has when listening to jazz dinosaurs Ben Webster, Charlie Parker or especially Sonny Rollins (who I admit is least of a dinosaur of the three but who still is born, unlike Herman, in the year 1930). His influences notably vary from Jaki Byard and Mischa Mengelberg to Defunkt’s Joseph Bowie or James Chance, but I somewhere overheard he recently is into Fleetfoxes as well. So I guess why he‘s such a great musician is pretty obvious: he simply loves all music, a quality seldom seen by at least the jazz musicians I know.

The moody ‘Campert’ reeks of fallen autumn leaves, stifled heart ache and the joy of einzelgangin’ and is already being compared to legendary jazz soundtracks like Miles’ ‘Ascenseur pour l’Echafaud’ and such, but it reminds me most of all of Gato Barbieri’s Soundtrack for ‘Last Tango in Paris’ (orchestrated by Oliver Nelson). Anyway, it’s just a really, really awesome record which can be played at least four or five times a week when the wheather’s right. Much respect for all musicians, but extra special credits go out to piano player Gideon van Gelder who genuinely plays with the subtlety of someone who does little, but is probably capable of lots.