Willem Breuker

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Contemporary Jazz for Holland (1966), 5.5/10
New Acoustic Swing Duo (1967), 5.5/10
Lunchconcert for Three Barrel-Organs (1969), 7/10
The Message (1971), 5/10
Instant Composers Pool 007/008 (1971), 7/10
De Onderste Steen (1974), 5/10
De Achterlijke Klokkenmaker (1974), 5.5/10
The European Scene (1975), 5/10
Live in Berlin (1975), 5/10
Summer Music A Paris (1978), 6/10
Muziek In Amsterdam (1980), 6.5/10
Angouleme 18 Mai (1980), 5/10
In Holland (1981), 7/10
Rhapsody in Blue (1982), 6/10
Driebergen Zeist (1983), 6/10
Psalm 122 (1988), 7/10
To Remain (1989), 6/10
Hunger (1989), 5.5/10
Dans Plezier/ Joy of Dance (1995), 5.5/10
Pakkepapen (1997), 5/10
Weer Is Een Dag Voorbij (2005), 5/10
Out of the Box (2017), 5/10

Dutch saxophonist Willem Breuker (1944) formed a big band at the age of 22 and recorded Contemporary Jazz for Holland (october 1966), that contained the politically-charged Litany for the 14th of June 1966. However, it was a duet with Han Bennink, New Acoustic Swing Duo (december 1967), that inaugurated the golden age of Dutch improvised music. He had co-founded the Instant Composers Pool with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg, but did not share Mengelberg's view of "instant composing" preferring a more traditional way of composing and a theatrical approach. Breuker's variant of ICP placed more emphasis on instrumentation, as proven by Lunchconcert For Three Barrel-organs (march 1969), and retained a passion for traditional formats, such as the opera The Message (january 1971), the theatrical soundtrack De Onderste Steen (december 1974), as well as several film soundtracks.

His masterpiece was Instant Composers Pool 007/008 (1971), that contained two 20-minute compositions: Song of the Lusitanian Bully (march 1969) for trombone (Willem van Manen), gachi (Han Bennink), bagpipes (Peter Bennink) and organ (Rob du Bois), and Lass Mich Nicht Weinen IV (november 1969) for reeds (Breuker), piano (Rob du Bois), bass and percussion. Each was a cartoonish, collage-like, Frank Zappa-inspired accumulation of sonic events.

Breaking up with Mengelberg's concept of "instant composition", Breuker formed the Kollektief (usually a tentet) to perform his compositions, whose recordings typically bridged the swing era and the free era. Among his scores (many originally devised for the theater) performed by the Kollektief were: De Achterlijke Klokkenmaker (december 1974) for three saxophones, flute, piano, flugelhorn, trombone, tuba, drums (plus "voices and noises"); La Plagiata for three saxes, flute, trumpet, flugelhorn, two trombones, piano, bass, drums, documented on The European Scene (october 1975) and Live In Berlin (november 1975); the 16-minute Summer Music, off Summer Music A Paris (february 1978); the masterful Kleine Amsterdam Rhapsodie (1980) off Muziek In Amsterdam (march 1980); the double-LP In Holland (may 1981) for a tentet, with Ouverture and Marche Funebre, two of his most emotional pieces; Spanish Wells, off Rhapsody in Blue (february 1982); Driebergen Zeist, off Driebergen Zeist (september 1983); the colossal Psalm 122 (february 1988) for jazz tentet, string ensemble, choir and barrel organ; the 11-movement suite To Remain (april 1989); the five-movement suite Hunger (august 1989); the mini-opera Der Kritiker, off Heibel (december 1990); the ballet music Dans Plezier/ Joy Of Dance (september 1995).

But the Kollektief was becoming simply a repertory ensemble devoted to less and less original music, influenced by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. Breuker also continued to score prolifically for the theater and the cinema.

Pakkepapen (september 1997)

Weer Is Een Dag Voorbij (june 2005)

The double-disc Angouleme 18 Mai 1980 (may 1980) documents the Willem Breuker's Kollektief with Bob Driessen (alto and baritone saxes), Arjen Gorter (bass), Rob Verdurmen (drums), Henk de Jonge (piano), Maarten van Norden (tenor sax), Bernard Hunnekink and Willem van Manen (trombone) and Boy Raaymakers (trumpet).

The eleven-disc boxset Out Of The Box (Bvhaast, 2017) is a compilation of the Breuker Kollektief.

Breuker died in july 2010 at 66.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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