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2014 (what about) WORDS: cd reviews (ENG)

CD-REVIEW (what about) WORDS- JAZZENZO by: Rinus van der Heijden - April 2, 2014






 ‘White’ was a cd that was released last year by the duo Marc van Vugt and Ineke Vandoorn. The disc was subtitled ‘Collectables One’. Now there is a sequel ‘(what about) WORDS’, that contains two and three of the series Collectables.

Because they had a huge pile of unreleased musical material at their disposal, the guitarist and singer had the idea to release a collection of pieces on CD. Recorded during concerts - 'White' was a bull’s eye - with (what about) WORDS a document of musical and historical value is again added to the landscape of Dutch improvised music. What makes the series ‘Collectables’ so special is that on three CD's a crystal clear overview is given of the musical development of guitarist van Vugt and singer Vandoorn. They are collaborating for over 20 years, played with countless musicians from all over the world and show on these three albums a thorough cross-section of the last ten years of their musicianship.

No less than 39 musicians can be heard on ‘(what about) WORDS’. Big Bizar Habit, the group of Marc van Vugt and Ineke Vandoorn, described by them as a jazz chamber orchestra, forms the base of this album. Big Bizar Habit showed itself over the years in different appearances and you can hear on the double-cd several from those different faces. Quite a few guest are passing by: alto saxophonist Paul van Kemenade, guitarist Sander van Herk and the Americans Robin Eubanks (trombone), Mario Pavone (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums). But remarkably: also het Nederlands Kamerkoor (Dutch Chamber Choir), that closes the double-CD with ‘Back to the Market Square’.


Another special aspect of this CD is that all but two compositions are by Marc van Vugt and that also all but two of the lyrics are by Ineke Vandoorn. These are colors that make the musical result even more original.

Where ‘White’ mainly highlighted the vocal art of Ineke Vandoorn, ‘(what about) WORDS’ focuses on the orchestral oeuvre of the duo. The opening piece ‘The Secret of the Machines’ shows that straightforward. It should be noted that the voice of Ineke Vandoorn does certainly not move to the background. She wanders accurately through the majority of the pieces. A bit less in the title piece, in which the words sung by the singer, become secondary to the consciously chosen arrangement by Marc van Vugt. Consciously, because of the composers description: "To me, what counts, is what is behind the words. Expressing myself through words is something others can do much better than me, so ‘What about words’?”



However: ‘(what about) WORDS’ is again an intimate portrait of two musicians that discover their own musical journey over and over again. They do that with sounds that have been wrestled with, to arrive at a point at which the creators say: this is it, this is how we intended it. Intimacy, leaving out modernisms, great improvisations, a marked voice and crystalized guitar work form the base and make that ‘Collectables two & three’ show a musical vision on a world that contains the outside, but even more, the inside of Ineke Vandoorn en Marc van Vugt. CD-REVIEW (what about) WORDS- DRAAIOMJEOREN by: Laurent Sprooten - April 24, 2014



Marc van Vugt & Ineke Vandoorn - '(What About) Words' (Baixim, 2014)
Recording: 2005-2009

It looks like the most-jazzy couple of the Netherlands is clearing out its music archives. Guitarist Marc van Vugt and singer Ineke Vandoorn took the courageous decision to release a whole bunch of unused recordings of the last ten years on a more and more declining cd-market. The first part of this series of Collectables has actually just been released (with the title 'White') and yet part 2 and 3 are in the web store. These are bundled on a double-cd with the slightly mysterious title '(what about) Words'.

More then commercial considerations pure artistic motivations will have dominated: the music is just too beautiful to be left to dry somewhere on an unused shelf. What convinces most, in the over an hour and a half of music that is presented to the listener by van Vugt's orchestra Big Bizar Habit, is the richness in sound, the sheer glory of the arrangements en the controlled passion with which the music is performed.

Although the two cd's are not really contrasting each other thematically or instrumentally, the accent on album 1 is a bit more on the through composed pieces that require a sometimes tight, almost classical ensemble performance, where as album 2 is easier on the ear, more free, but at the same time more fierce as if the individual musicians are taking more space to look for the essence or to tell their personal story. And stories, that is what it is all about in the music of Van Vugt and Vandoorn, whether they are playing complex instrumentations or a (relatively) simple blues. New changes and perspectives appear every where, melody lines get entangled and intertwined like deranging dialogues that, on unexpected moments get unraveled harmonically.

In such an environment it takes a singer to pull the melody to herself, let words spread out their meaning and sound and even merge with the other instruments. Ineke Vandoorn can do it all, especially in the wordlessly sung high regions, where her voice has a fabulously beautiful sound, as in the -sweltering of tension- piece 'I Am'. The singer follows yet a different instrument and switches swiftly from main role to supporting role in the beginning passages of the impressionistic title song 'What about Words', after which she puts down the theme with an elusive speaking voice.

But their are more central players in this colorful happening full of images: alto Paul van Kemenade pulls some truly memorable, inspiring solo's out of his hat, Joost Lijbaart provides with his seemingly sober, but a hundred percent effective drumming, an incredibly driving pulse in the music and the strings add exactly the right amount of drama in passages where just a bit more would have easily lead to a John Barry-overdose.

The real key player however is Marc van Vugt, the guitarist that has put all his creative heart and soul into this music. With '(what about) Words' he proves once again that he has an extraordinary composing talent.

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