LINER NOTES

(what about) WORDS - Collectables two & three

MARC VAN VUGT & INEKE VANDOORN

Click here to listen to samples
Click here for lyrics


1 The Secret of the Machines

This piece was originally recorded on our Four Brothers cd. After our visit to Rubel Castle in Glendora (USA) and seeing all that old machinery there, it suddenly came back to us with a slightly different context. Marc: In the arrangement I wanted to incorporate a reference to Gill Evans large ensemble works, specifically how he arranged the Hendrix stuff, so I ended up with this arrangement for Big Bizar Habit. We recorded it live at the SJU Jazzpodium during our ensemble-in-residence. The inspiration for the lyrics came from Rudyard Kiplings (Yes: from the Jungle Book!) poem from 1918 with the same title. His vision on all the new machinery is still remarkably up-to-date.


THE UBUNTU SUITE an introduction by Marc van Vugt.

Ubuntu: "I am what I am because of who we all are." .

'In the summer of 2005 I found myself deadly tired, irritable, easily scared. At a certain point I would only sleep for 2-3 hours a night, dreaming that I was choking and waking up grasping for air. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Being deprived of the essential amount of sleep had an extreme effect on me, both physically and psychologically. Physically I had to learn to live with a lower energy level. Psychologically it forced me to deal with things from the past that I never realized to be having such an impact on me. In this struggle I was very much helped and inspired by the words of Desmond Tutu and the Indian Nisargadatta. .

Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls Ubuntu 'the essence of being human' emphasizing particularly that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. We are all connected and what you do affects the whole world. A person with Ubuntu knows that he or she belongs to a greater whole. When others are humiliated or diminished, you are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, you are tortured or oppressed. .

I realized a.o. that Ubuntu not only applies to the victim and the outside offender but equally to how we deal with ourselves and with our inside offender. In many cases our inside world reflects the outside world and vice versa. The process of making the world more human could thus start at either side. Being a composer, I transferred both my new insights, my struggles and my inspiration into a 60 minutes Sleep Apnea Suite that I called UBUNTU.� .

On the CD (what about) WORDS, you will find 5 parts of this still ongoing project. The pieces are written for our jazz chamber orchestra Big Bizar Habit and for Bizar Habit, Marc�s jazz quartet. The recordings were made while being ensemble-in-residence at the former SJU Jazz podium, Utrecht. The suite was commissioned by the Performing Arts Fund NL and by the City of Utrecht.


2 *What about Words

�Words are what we use to communicate about what we want and about what we feel. Most of the time they express what we want to say only by approximation. For that reason what is behind the words is what counts for me. In general I find that others are way more capable of expressing themselves through words than I. So: What about words??
Musically I have tried to express this undefined character by starting with a G chord over Ab, the minor second. This sounds like there is no root and like there is missing a foundation. The melody starts with fragments that, only after you heard the total, seem to form a logical melody. Slowly words are transformed into a sentence and are getting a meaning. The first middle section also starts with fragments and for a moment it seems as if the music stops evolving. Spoken words come in, but they are too soft to understand. Although the words have lost their meaning, the emotion still gets under your skin. So: What about words?�

3 *Ubuntu

�Ubuntu is the South African concept where the victims and offenders are confronted to seek understanding, forgiveness and acceptance of a crime. This is how they dealt with some of the terrible crimes that were committed during the Apartheid. When I read about the concept of Ubuntu and how Desmond Tutu spoke about it, I realized that this concept also applies to the way we deal with our inner conflicts.�.
4 *I am

All our worries and fears originate in our thoughts. They start with a feeling that is then transformed into words. However, in this moment -here and now-, there is nothing but direct experience and we only divert from that as words come in. The Indian Nisargadatta said: It all starts with: I am.

I am is musically a play with words. A play with melodies that seem to go forward and then move in reverse, as in the lyrics: I am...am I, This is ending up in the middle section with some fugato motives that transform into a minimal music-like section. On top there is the voice that is still wrestling with words.

5 Breathing

We like to improvise! You never know what is going to happen and you never know where you end up. During our live concerts we improvise a lot but not every improvised piece ends up on a CD. In this case breathing sounds carried us away�


6 President for Life

We wrote President for Life for the Vandoorn album with the same title in 1996. We were fortunate to have alto sax player Thomas Chapin to be our guest on that recording. Ever since we wanted to perform this piece with our jazz chamber orchestra Big Bizar Habit but Marc never got around writing the arrangement until 2009. With all its irregularities it is an exciting piece that, if you follow the melody, sounds so natural. The lyrics play with the question of self management: Who is in control? Who is the president of your life?


7 Blues for a Voice

This piece is part of our Inventing Jazz project in which we were joined by het Nederlands Kamerkoor (Dutch Chamber Choir) on an adventure on the edge of jazz and classical music. This time the piece was adapted for Big Bizar Habit where the bass and horns pick up on a vocalese with Ineke, who�s singing about the blues of growing up and becoming an �well-adapted adult�.


8 Get 2 it

In 2005 we organized a festival called Main Biennale. Big Bizar Habit, New York trombonist Robin Eubanks, Funckarma (experimental electronic music), Paris photographer Olivier Panier de Touche, the leading Dutch architect Hubert Jan Henket, San Diego visual artist Wick Alexander, Utrecht poet Ingmar Heytze and jazz reviewer Frank van Herk, all joined the festival to perform new music, an opera and much more while being live photographed and live reviewed. One big spectacle! Robin Eubanks was the featured guest musician and was commissioned to write a piece for Big Bizar Habit. Get 2 it was performed and recorded that night.


9 Circus above

In the beginning of the 1990 I started to play with a quartet called Bizar Habit. After a couple of years the quartet was changed into the 11-piece Big Bizar Habit. As part of the ensemble-in-residency at the SJU-Jazzpodium in Utrecht, I was asked in 2009 to perform with my old quartet line up. I took the chance and fulfilled an old wish: to work with Thomas Chapin�s former rhythm section. This plan came alive when Ineke and I met Mario Pavone and Michael Sarin in 2008 at a Memorial festival for Thomas in New York. Together with alto sax player Paul van Kemenade, who was in the original line up, we did a small series of concerts and a radio recording for the VPRO radio. This track is taken from a live recording at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam.

Circus above was originally part of a Pilgrimage program that we created for the Musica Sacra festival in Maastricht in 2003. Circus above is about how some people�s heads can be full of sounds, craziness and turmoil and thus turn into some sort of a circus.


10 It is not

Written by Ineke and adapted for the ensemble by Marc, this piece was recorded at the same festival night as Get 2 it. The piece starts with an intro based on a 12-tone melody and its reverse. The theme then evolves at a very slow pace, leaving room for pensive lyrics and a beautiful solo feature for our dear friend guitarist Sander van Herk. Sander is well known in the Netherlands for his work with the famous pop group Het Goede Doel and as a mixer/producer for many productions among which most of our previous albums. These included.


11 *In my Arms (I hold you)

I learned to love that little boy inside that kept me up for hours when I woke up from another sleep apnea. I learned to hold him in my arms and ease his mind as I would be watching over him from now on.

Playing and composing for guitar solo is as close as I can get to my personal expression. A wailing melody starting with the repetition of just that one A tone (doubled in octaves and a fifth) as a stuttering little boy telling his fears. The harmony embraces slowly the melody as the melody becomes more fluid. So does the ensemble that embraces the song in the second part.


12 Athis

Athis was written for the 750th anniversary festival of the Dom Church in Utrecht. It is based on a piece called Athis and Prophileas from a manuscript from the 1600 �s. Prophileas fell in love with the wife of his best friend Athis. Athis gave his wife to Prophileas thus saving his love for his wife and his friendship with his dearest friend. The Dom Church lacks its middle section. It was destroyed by a storm 80 years after it was finished and was never restored. For the anniversary festival the outlines of that middle section was recreated using scaffolding that represented what was once the whole structure. This inspired me to use the original melody as a scaffolding too. Using counterpoint and jazz re-harmonization I built a new piece around this original melody. After that, I took out the original melody and kept what remained to be the base for the new piece. In this way the original manuscript became the skeleton or scaffolding of this new piece in the same way as Athis provided a fundament for the new love of his wife and Prophileas. This piece was also recorded at the Main Biennale in Utrecht.


13 *And then you only feel the Pain

Pain is terrible when you experience it. But when you look really close it is just that: an experience. And then you only feel the pain.


14 Back to the Market Square

In 2009 we did a project with the Nederlands Kamerkoor (Dutch Chamber Choir) called Inventing jazz. A jazz vocalist and a jazz guitarist/composer met a classical choir to reinvent what jazz would be for each of them. Finding a way of synthesis and combining their knowledge and experience, while keeping their own specificity and creating something new! We wrote a whole new repertoire for his project that we performed at some of the best concert halls in the Netherlands. This track was taken from a live radio recording for the National Broadcasting Company NPS.
Back to the Market Square is taken from the Ten Oxherding Pictures, a famous story from the Zen tradition. After searching for enlightenment and even finding it in the end, you find yourself back on the market square where life just goes on as always.

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