2007 Alice in Space: a fascinating space voyage (eng)

Klaas Koopman, Gooi- en Eemlander 29-11-2007

Singer Ineke van Doorn and guitarist Marc van Vugt have a good reputation as adventurers in jazz. Time after time they surprise us with yet another new project. Their most recent one being Alice in Space, an improvised space opera for two voices and a jazz octet. Van Doorn, often accompanied by a third or fourth instrumentalist, along with Van Vugt have an international standing. Their cd 'Love is a glue', with trumpetist Eric Vloeimans, won an Edison. Marc van Vugt’s Big Bizar Habit is an 11 headed jazz chamber orchestra that gives Van Vugt a great opportunity to unfold his composition talent. BBH shook the jazz world with pieces like ‘Le Dirigeable Fantastique’ (the accompanying music for a 'mute' movie) and the Van Doesburg Suite. In 2006 it was 25 years since Van Vugt and Van Doorn met as college students in their city of birth Den Bosch. They decided to celebrate their long term musical partnership with a Main Biennale at music venue Vredenburg in Utrecht. In Utrecht, the collaboration with poet Ingmar Heytze was established. This has now resulted in Alice in Space. Ineke van Doorn had taken the plunge a few years ago and started singing her own Dutch lyrics to jazz music. Then in collaboration with Heytze she composed a play for two voices. This composition is based on 'Dimension of miracles', a novel by American author Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) which was published in the Netherlands in 1972 and over the years has become a science fiction cult classic. Other references in connection with Alice in Space are 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Little Prince'. Van Doorn and Heytze wrote a libretto based on poetic lyrics, which for the performance they recited both as a monologue and a dialogue. Additionally Ineke van Doorn sings and raps(!) some of the words. Marc van Vugt has composed brilliant music, varying from blues to hiphop, and from mainstream jazz to an Ellingtonian composition. The music is performed by six of the musicians that form Van Vugt’s Big Bizar Habit. Trumpet players Angelo Verploegen and Mete Erker perform the parts for wind instruments, there is Jeffrey Bruinsma on violin, Paul Stouthamer on cello, Paul Berner on double bass, Joost Lijbaart on percussion, and Ineke van Doorn plays the piano. Last Thursday, the opening performance of Alice in Space took place in the Beaufort house in Austerlitz. A beautifully performed multimedia show took place with fascinating photo and film images, projected on a big screen behind the musicians. Narrators Ineke van Doorn and Heytze dressed in rather plain outfits except for the moment where Heytze drapes a colourful cape around his shoulders. The rest is a matter of pure declamation. The narration starts when an extraterrestrial messenger offers Alice the first prize in an inter-galactic lottery. She leaves Earth and is sent to the Universe. A journey through constellations and foreign worlds follows. Alice stays on planet Dulzura for a while and is then sent home again. The story clearly touches the topic of the dangers and problems that threaten earthlings at the present time. Above all else Alice in Space is defined by the fascinating music. Jazz? Indeed. The professional musicians are given plenty of opportunity to improvise yet composer Marc van Vugt is aware of the important restrictions that prevents the jazz concept from becoming an uncontrolled rollercoaster ride.

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