Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pierre Courbois: live with his Vijfkwarts Sextet

Naar de Nederlandse Vertaling: Pierre Courbois in Porgy en Bess
To the latest blog Naar de laatste blog


On Sunday afternoon the 23rd of November 2008, we had the first snowfall of the year in our region, the province of Zeeland in the southwest part of The Netherlands and the people stayed, for the most part, in their homes. Those who defied the snow got a great concert by the Pierrre Courbois Vijfkwarts Sextet in the Porgy en Bess Jazz club in Terneuzen, in the southwest part of The Netherlands, near the Belgian border.

Pierre Courbois Vijfkwarts Sextet: f.l.t.r.: Willem Kühne - Jasper Blom - Jan Menu - Toon De Gouw - Pierre Courbois: Porgy en Bess - Terneuzen (The Netherlands) - November 2008 ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Pierre Courbois received the VPRO Boy Edgar Award May 2008, handed by Jan Marijnissen and this concert was part of his tour, organised by the Muziek Centrum Nederland, along Dutch jazz venues. In Porgy en Bess he brought his Vijfkwarts Sextet ( 5/4 Sextet), featuring Toon De Gouw on trumpet, Jasper Blom on tenorand soprano saxophone, Jan Menu on baritone saxophone, Willem Kühne at the piano, Niko Langenhuijzen on bass and, last but not least, the leader Pierre Courbois on drums. Jan Menu replaced Ilja Reijngold, who is the sextet's regular trombone player.

Pierre Courbois: ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Pierre Courbois, born in Nijmegen, April 1940 became fascinated by the drums as a kid and it was a surprise for him to learn that the man, who first introduced him to a real drum kit, Willem Arents was in the audience. The first band in which he played was a dixieland band, but in 1960 he became part of the Ton Wijkamp Quintet, that won the 1960 Loosdrecht Festival award. While studying at the Arnhem School of Music he was a member of the Original Dutch Free Jazz Group and became an important member of the Dutch Free Jazz movement. He played, during the 1960s and 1970s with musicians like Gunter Hampel, Rein De Graaff and Dick Vennik, Theo Loevendie, Loek Dikker, Mal Waldron, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bud Powell and Eric Dolphy ( to make a long list short).

Jan Menu ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Being the leader and the drummer, a rare combination ( of course the name of Art Blakey is in our minds now .....), it is hard to influence the sound of the group. Je kunt als drummer nauwelijks invloed uitoefenen op het melodisch en harmonisch verloop van de muziek. Als compensatie hiervoor ben ik gaan schrijven: He said in the article: Pierre Coubois Componeren als Compensatie ( Jazzwereld 3 (no date)(= 1992)). That's why Pierre Courbois is a dedicated composer too. He started to write his musical ideas since the mid 1960s and loves to compose music in uncommon time-signatures, like Dave Brubeck used to do. One of his first compositions was the tune Seven, a 7/4 time-signature tune, composed for his Jubileum-kwintet. He told me that it took a year to compose these numbers, he played in Porgy en Bess, for this so called Vijfkwarts Sextet ( 5/4 time-signature Sextet).

Jasper Blom (photo courtesy Hans Koert)
In the first set 5 tunes were played, Rééducation Blues, renamed (as Jasper Blom suggested), to give it a more local meaning, The Balkenende Blues, named after the prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who was raised in this part of The Netherlands; Insonorisé, a number with Latin influences, Opaque, the ballad Révocation and Unsquare Roots. Alle nummers (= All tunes), Jasper Blom, tenor saxophone and spokesman of the band, explained, zijn in vijf kwartsmaat, dus moet je langzaam meetellen 1 -2 -3 -4 -5 en dan weer opnieuw ..... maar je kunt het ook gewoon over je heen laten komen. (= all tunes have a 5/4 time-signature, so you should count 1 - 2- 3- 4- 5 and then again 1 - 2 - .... but maybe you better go through it anyway.) The best suggestion, in my opinion.

Toon De Gouw ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

In the second set tunes like Lobelia and Cubic Roots, with Jasper Blom on tenor saxophone. Another regional related tune, what's in a name, was February 1953, referring to the great 1953 flood that inundated large parts of this province, concluded the second set. In the encore, Pierre Courbois showed some of the techniques that made him famous, like the use of different foot pedal mechanisms, which allows him to change the tones of the drum heads. Great to hear this !

Jasper Blom - Jan Menu - Toon De Gouw ( photo courtesy Hans Koert)

Vergeet niet om live concerten te blijven bezoeken - die zijn voor ons jazzmuzikanten van levensbelang, Jasper Blom finished the concert. Don't forget to join live jazz concerts - they are of vital importance for all jazz musicians. True words, but, I think, spoken to the wrong people ........... the regular guests of the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club - the die-hards!
Hans Koert -

Selected Discography:
Free Music One and Two ( 1968)
Free Music Plus Organ ( 1968)
Pierre Courbois Association: Earwax ( 1970)
Pierre Courbois Association: P.C. Sun Rotation ( 1971)
Pierre Courbois Association: Rock Around The Cock (sic)
Myria' Poda (1975)
Independence (solo) (1983)
New Association: Four Wheel Drive (1986)
Polo De Haas Kwartet: Soolmaan ( 1991)
Réouverture (1993)
Pierre Courbois Kwintet: Big Party 1 + 2 (1998)
Gunther Hampel Quintett: Legendary: the 27th of May 1997 (1999)
Duo Polo de Haas-Pierre Courbois: Gong (2000)
Pierre Courbois Dubbel Kwintet: Unsquare Roots (2000)
Joop van Enkhuizen - Bert van den Brink - Pierre Euriginal: Three Four Times (2005)
The Pierre Courbois 5/4 Sextet (Live at the Bimhuis):Révocation (2007)

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