Monday, June 11, 2012

Innovation Series: Han Bennink 70th Anniversary by: Ken Pickering / Artistic Director

“Innovation Series” 
Han Bennink 70th Anniversary
at the Ironworks    (June 24th , 2012)
by: Ken Pickering / Artistic Director

Han Bennink / Brodie West / Terrie Ex

A very special collaboration will take place between 3 iconoclastic musicians; 2 Dutch and 1 Canadian. In Vancouver this trio performs at the Ironworks, June 24th.

The Canadian and organizing element in this trio, Toronto saxophonist Brodie West has been particularly active on the Dutch improv scene; working extensively with Han as well as with The Ex over the past decade. In Canada Brodie’s credits are diverse, having worked with Drumheller and Lina Allemano on the jazz side and Broken Social Scene and Deep Dark United on the indie scene. I first heard him in a duet with Han Bennink at the Anza club back in 2004! Here's a sound clip of the trio.

Han’s long time friend guitarist Terrie Hessels (aka Ex) cofounded the Ex in 1979; known to be one of the most important punk bands of the era. The Ex continues to this day, expanding their original punk ethos outward to incorporate Ethiopian music and free improvisation into a vital mix that is unique in music. The Ex Brass Unbound (with Wolter Wierbos, Ken Vandermark etc) recently (May) recorded at Roy Paci’s studio in Italy and then went on a short tour. Terrie’s next stop - Canada! The Ex have performed in Canada, mostly on the east coast (rarely in YVR) and we’ve come close to enticing them to the fest, but alas with no success. Maybe this will be a stepping-stone to the jazz fest for The Ex. Here's a thorny clip of the duo with Han and Terrie.

New Acoustic Swing Duo (Han Bennink, Willem Breuker)
ICP (1967)

Han Bennink (drum master) turned 70 years old this year. This is a milestone! Born in 1942 Han has been in my consciousness almost since I discovered jazz in 1967. My first exposure to his music must have been from Eric Dolphy’s “Last Date” from 1964 (hear South Street Exit) and sometime within those next 3 years I encountered the mind altering “New Acoustic Swing Duo” (with Willem Breuker), “Topography of the Lungs” (with Evan Parker and Derek Bailey) and various albums with John Tchicai, Peter Broetzmann, Fred van Hove and most importantly his long time comrade, Misha Mengelberg. By 1972 I was in Berlin listening to his music for real! Never looked back (except to listen).

Topography of the Lungs (Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Han Bennink)
The legendary 1st release of free improvisation on Incus (1970)

A regular visitor to Vancouver, Han's first appearance was probably with Peter Broetzmann in the 80’s and in subsequent years he became a musician and fan favourite in our town, collaborating with Paul Plimley, a first encounter with Dave Douglas, tours with Clusone Trio and the Tobias Delius Quartet, in trio with Ray Anderson and Christy Doran, Eric Boeren's Quartet and of course various YVR appearances with the fabulous ICP Orchestra from the mid 90’s onward.

Han Bennink, Wilbert de Joode, Eric Boeren - Vancouver Fest 2010
(photo: Chris Cameron)

“Improvisation is like daily life…like crossing a street” says Han Bennink. The ICP (Instant Composers Pool) has 45 years music performance and (if you haven’t yet heard) to commemorate this exceptional history, a 50 CD box set is planned, with DVD’s, bonus material and a photo book with each numbered box (300) hand painted by Han Bennink! Here’s the link:

This concert celebrates in sound a great friendship, not only between these musicians but also with the Vancouver audience, an audience that never fails to heartily welcome Han to the bandstand each and every time he comes to town.  It’s our small way of saying happy birthday and contributing to Han Bennink’s 70th birthday celebration. What better place to celebrate than the Ironworks!


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