The Dutch Hobby Orchestra Our Time (NJA 2023)


The times they were-a-changin’ and weren’t in favor of the mainstream Hobby Orchestra. The recordings of this excellent Dutch orchestra seemed lost forever until they were retrieved by the indomitable Dutch Jazz Archive. Our Time is their lasting achievement.

The Dutch Hobby Orchestra - Our Time


Frans Mijts, Jaap Leben, Eddy Engels John Bannet & Fons Diercks (trumpet), Cees Smal (trombone, valve trombone), Rudy Bosch, Bertil Peereboom Voller (trombone), Erik van Lier (bass trombone), Herman Schoonderwalt & Tony Vos (alto saxophone, clarinet), Piet Noordijk (alto saxophone), Sander Sprong & Ferdinand Povel (tenor saxophone), Joop Mastenbroek (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone), Frans Elsen (piano), Joop Scholten (guitar), Rob Langereis (bass), Evert Overweg (drums)


in 1967-68 at Soundpush Studio, Blaricum and VARA Studio, Hilversum


as NJA 2301 in 2023

Track listing

Bright Moment
In Some Way
Our Time
Twenty-Four And More
Ballad For Ed
The Challenger
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
Last Moment
Bluesy Joe
No Tricks
Sweet And Lovely
Hobby Music

Now that the stark-naked roller-skater, who wore nothing except a string, summer, winter, day or night, has passed away, Amsterdam has to make do with the remaining eccentric sights of flesh and blood. Coincidentally, I saw one of those attractions last week. This guy with a guitar on his back, who always approaches everybody with harmless but unsolicited and mildly annoying love and peace slogans, stopped at the same red light and approached me with increasingly bewildering flower power gibberish. A clear case of burned-out hippie-hood.

As time goes by, this species becomes rare and ultimately extinct, like the dodo. 1967 is a long time ago. The place was crawling with hippies. Rebellion was in the air. Robert Jasper Grootveld organized socially critical happenings in the mid-sixties. The anarchic Provo movement joined forces in 1966. In the wake of American and French academy riots, students occupied the university office Maagdenhuis in Amsterdam in 1969. The Byrds, Pink Floyd, Santana and Jefferson Airplane played at the Dutch equivalent of Woodstock, the Kralingen festival, in Rotterdam in 1970.

Although we have to be careful to carve definitions of the sixties in stone on the strength of a few symbols and admit that other factors have been at play, notably a diplomatic but evident willingness to meet progressive wishes from the establishment, as the Holland-based professor James Kennedy has pointed out convincingly in his standard work Nieuw Babylon In Aanbouw from 1995, something, admittedly, was definitely brewing. Most of the time, the brewing came in the guise of a capsule of LSD that was dropped in a glass of lemonade. The recipient proceeded to be far out baby, look through a glass onion and experience a vision that involved getting rich from the future invention of a beverage called Gatorade.

As usual, jazz was in a flux. Guiding light John Coltrane had passed away in 1967, there was a steady stream of avant-garde jazz and rock jazz was on the rise. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis was the game-changer of 1970. Times were rough for straightforward jazz artists. In The Netherlands, much to the chagrin of those artists, most critics favored free jazz over mainstream jazz, the start of a schism between tradition and impro that lasted for decades.

Acclaimed musicians like Piet Noordijk, Herman Schoonderwalt, Tony Vos, Cees Kranenburg, Ack van Rooyen, Erik van Lier and Ado Broodboom took all the work they could get in various orchestras while trying to succeed in small real jazz ensembles or working abroad. Altoist Piet Noordijk had made his mark with the Misja Mengelberg Quartet, trumpeter and valve trombonist Cees Smal was part of the pioneering hard bop outfit The Diamond Five. Both filled the ranks of the Boy Edgar Big Band, led by the charismatic and legendary chaotic bandleader/doctor Boy Edgar.

Musicians had grown dissatisfied with the course that the Boy Edgar Big Band had taken since the avant-leaning Theo Loevendie had been at the helm. Besides, they had a strong desire to swing their thing after the gruelling schedules at the studio were fulfilled. A hardcore big band was founded from those ranks when trumpeter Frans Mijts had gotten the opportunity to manage the newfound state-of-the-art Soundpush studio in Blaricum in the summer of 1966. On good terms with Schoonderwalt, Smal and pianist Frans Elsen (not a member of Edgar’s band), who all had expressed a desire to start an orchestra, Mijts invited their band to rehearse at Soundpush and played lead trumpet himself.

The orchestra rehearsed relentlessly at night and developed into a tight-knit unit under the arranging leadership of Elsen, Rob Madna, Smal and, finally, Rogier van Otterloo. It only performed live a few times and a record deal that was discussed with the German MPS label unfortunately failed to materialize. The Hobby Orkest (at first the orchestra was nameless but after a headline in a magazine article talked about a so-called ‘hobby orchestra’ because the musicians were playing purely for their own pleasure, it became known under this monicker) supported Hank Mobley in 1967, the sole big band recording of the famed tenor player, which is featured on the Dutch Jazz Archive release Hank In Holland.

Besides top-notch performers, Elsen, Smal and Schoonderwalt were excellent tunesmiths. Their best songs are Elsen’s sweeping melody Bright Moment and Schoonderwalt’s modal-tinged burner Perka while Rogier van Otterloo provided the cinematic Hobby Music and In Some Way, all dynamic arrangements and the latter benefiting from a flexible and rousing solo by Schoonderwalt. All tunes feature fine solos, not least the lovely Ballad For Ed, which highlights the beautiful, quicksilver and forthright trumpet stylings of Eddy Engels. Throughout, upcoming tenor player Ferdinand Povel convincingly speaks his piece and Frans Elsen is about the hippest of bop and modern jazz pianists around at that time.

While funk jazz and slow blues is not this band’s forte, the orchestra turns standard Sweet And Lovely into a multi-layered tour de force. It’s a great arrangement that slyly makes use of a change of rhythm, pace and volume and a fully engaging eleven minutes that inspires these gentlemen to blow like soldiers that dart through the inner-city streets on weekend leave. Modernized Basie swing comes in the form of Twenty-Four And More, performed before a live audience in the studio in 1968, a clearly inspiring atmosphere, not least to the legendary Piet Noordijk, who makes the roaring most of his minute or so in the spotlight.

For various reasons, the band fell apart in 1970. A short-lived reunion took place between the tail ends of 1973 and 1974. World affairs like the Watergate scandal took the spotlight, Johan Cruijff and the Dutch soccer team wrote sports history with ‘total football’. In jazzland, it so happened that the tapes of these recordings were either erased or consisting of unfinished pieces. Thanks to the Dutch Jazz Archive and the Frans Mijts Estate, at least we can enjoy a major chapter in Dutch and European big band history of the sixties.

The Dutch Hobby Orchestra

Find Our Time here.

Check out wonderful footage from the band on YouTube here. Put up four years ago by DJA producer Frank Jochemsen, you’ll hear Schoonderwalt, Smal and Elsen explain (in Dutch) their motivations and see them perform Bright Moments featuring tenor saxophonist Ferdinand Povel.

knimes trio pt.1 (Envelope 2023)


Three different nationalities speak one language of progressive jazz.

knimes trio - pt.1


knimes (Matthijs de Ridder, drums), Hue Blanes (piano), Ignacio Santoro (bass)


on October 29 & 30, 2022 at Moon Music


as Envelope 003 in 2023

Track listing

Monday June 13th
Andrew’s Hill
Waltz For Gloria

Better get to steppin’ because the sophomore effort of knimes acoustic group is available in a limited edition of 150 items. knimes is Dutch drummer Matthijs de Ridder and pt.1 is the follow-up to vinyl release Adventures In Improvised Music from 2021. This time, knimes limits himself to the trio and CD format.

At 37 minutes (more or less, more about this later…), it’s short but sweet. Good for us, we’re fed up with albums of 60 minutes or more that, well-intentioned they may be, leave us picking our noses in Poughkeepsie and staring into the cracks of the ceiling at a crawling spider and wondering why the roof the roof the roof is on fire while all that’s happened is our brain’s fried from being exposed to the music of Kenny G. at the tender age of 3 and a half. Short is fine, as long as the repertoire is strong, and the tunes by knimes likely will have your stamp of approval.

The trio goes modal, swings free and moves into territory that was pioneered long ago by the progressive jazz masters, presenting their own original and fervent take on it. They add a little turpentine over hotbeds of post-bop, create moods that work as the musical equivalent of film noir and make us hum along with an uplifting melody or two. The title of Andrew’s Hill suggests where part of the trio’s inspiration stems from.

The tight-knit playing of knimes trio, solid bass by Argentinian Ignacio Santoro mixing with De Ridder’s strong-willed drums, shouldn’t come as a surprise, since here’s a working group that leads many a jam session evening at café Bebop in Delft. Australia-born Hue Blanes is a capricious pianist with a strong toucher. Never extravagantly loud, accurate but flexible, he’s somewhat the star gymnast that suddenly strays from his program on the balance beam and improvises surprising sidesteps and jumps.

This little album sounds awfully good, likely the result of knimes being a producer as well. This holds true for the bonustrack, which reveals itself when the last notes and dancing spiders have passed away. It’s a hip blend of hip hop and jazz, which for the occasion, and in sync with the likes of The Philadelphia Experiment, we will dub The Hague Experiment in honor of the jazz hub where these cats ran into each other. Running time has been stretched to approximately 43 minutes, Standard Long Player Time, which fits this interesting ‘neo post-bop’ trio like a glove.

knimes trio

Find pt.1 here.

Sahib Shihab - And The Danish Radio Group

Sahib Shihab And The Danish Radio Group (Oktav 1965)

Da-da di-da-da-da, the crosseyed cat sang.

Sahib Shihab - And The Danish Radio Group


Sahib Shihab (baritone saxophone, flute, cowbell), big band featuring a.o: Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet, flugelhorn), Bent Jædig (tenor saxophone, flute), Niels Husum (soprano saxophone, bass clarinet), Bent Nielsen (baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet), Bent Axen (piano), Louis Hjulmand (vibraphone), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alex Riel (drums)


in 1965 at Danmarks Radio


as Oktav 111 in 1965

Track listing

Side A:
Dance Of The Fakowees
Not Yet
Tenth Lament
Side B:
Mai Ding
Harvey’s Tune
No Time For Cries
The Crosseyed Cat

It’s about time to spotlight Sahib Shihab, who creeped in the Flophouse premises as a sideman on Philly Joe Jones’s Drums Around The World, Milt Jackson’s Plenty Plenty Soul, Curtis Fuller/Hampton Hawes’s With French Horns and Howard McGhee’s The Return Of Howard McGhee. Plenty sizzling sidemen jobs. He played on records by Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk and spent a decade in the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band.

Relatively unknown in his homeland probably because of his move to the European continent in 1965, Shihab nonetheless managed to make some slaps of vinyl as a leader in his own right. Jazz Sahib on Savoy in 1957, Sahib’s Jazz Party on Debut in 1963 and Seeds on Vogue Schallplatten in 1970 are, well… Sahib Highlights. Shihab lived in Denmark for ten years. A lot of recognition, a lot of work, a lot of good food and great women. And (almost) no discrimination and hostility. Hampton Hawes agreed but in his poignant autobiography Raise Up Off Me also expresses his doubts: “What are beautiful cats like this doing in European capitals? They should be back blowing at Shelly’s and the Half Note close to the source where the music was changing and evolving – things happening that might not reach Europe for years. If they stayed over here much longer they were in danger of becoming local.”

Sahib Shihab went back to the States in 1973 for three years, where he was born as Edmund Gregory in Savannah, Georgia and turned into one of the early boppers on baritone, alto and soprano saxophones and flute. Among those that comprised the source where the music was changing and evolving, Mr. Gregory was one of the first black artists to convert to Islam faith, an act that served as the most politically outright manifestation of the inherently progressive music that was bebop. Though we should be careful to address it as mere protest.

That was in 1947. Post-war frenzy. Commies the new enemies. Two decades later, with JFK shot through the head, Lyndon Johnson the new B-boy battling the Vietcong, The Beatles breaking through across the pond, Shihab was living in Copenhagen. That was the year of 1965. The year of, yes… another Sahib Highlight. Thé highlight? We’re talking Sahib Shihab And The Danish Radio Group, one American, a big bunch of Danish cats. Hell yeah, can’t get any better.

Tremendously swinging stuff. Without any reservation, a blast that oozes Ellington and Mingus, consisting of eight sassy compositions by Shehab. It kicks off with a solid walking bass and staccato horns, it’s Di-Da and a tenor saxophone says da-da-di-da-da. A vibraphone is added, someone plays a killer trumpet solo, someone quotes St. James Infirmary Blues. First thing one might notice is that this Danish platter sounds crazy good.

Second thing one might notice when we’re waltzing in Dance Of The Fakowees is that Sahib recruited a group of Denmark’s finest: Palle Mikkelborg on trumpet and flugelhorn, Bent Jædig on tenor saxophone and flute, Bent Axen on piano. Not to mention the greatest Danish bass player of all time, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and superb drummer Alex Riel. The clarinet player is a first-class snake charmer. Someone plays killer trombone, a muted three-trumpet team returns to the Fakowees theme after a superb display of soft/loud horn section dynamics. Sophisticated but sleazy. Here’s one of the references to Ellington/Mingus. Did Sahib play with Mingus? Not on wax. He listened. Better said, heard. No doubt.

We have the breakneck speed of Not Yet, built around sparkling and booming drum melodizing. We have the balladry of Tenth Lament, vaguely resembling, ahum… Goodbye Porkpie Hat, showcasing a bold and terribly hot baritone story. Leader Sahib at work. More splendid and husky baritone in No Time For Cries and the polyrhythm party of Mai Ding, which links Africa, Cuba, Dizzy’s big band of the late 1940’s and the blues. Pandemonium.

Vocalized breathy flute plays the leading role of the lithe Harvey’s Tune. Finally, the big band goes modal and finishes off the session with The Crosseyed Cat in good spirits. Nineteen fellows dangling like puppets on the magical string of Sahib Shihab. Lasting a mere 37 minutes, And The Danish Radio Group is as short as they came in the LP market, but nobody is dealt short here. One only wishes contemporary artists in the CD/download era would limit themselves to half hours of coherent programs instead of hour-long expressions of the ego.

This little big band platter’s on fire.

Check out Shihab’s masterpiece on YouTube here.

The New York Second @Mascini

Some Other Time

More and more jazz lovers find the road to the conceptual jazz city of Dutch pianist Harald Walkate, whose band The New York Second delivered its fourth album After The Hours, The Minutes this Spring. A trio record that explores the various trademarks of the phenomenon of time and includes a classy booklet and thought-provoking liner notes. “I’d like for people to lose themselves for a while in the story that I’m presenting them. Of course, there will be those that have no desire for a concept and just want to listen to some music. That’s fine by me as well.”

He has some time to spare this week. Good for us. Next week the pianist is in London on a business trip. Part of a rare Dutch species that seems to have sprung up with bop legend Rein de Graaff, who combined piano playing with electro ware wholesale, Walkate follows a two-fold strategy. The 52-year-old citizen of Amsterdam, based in the upper-class Plan Zuid neighborhood, is in financial services. Married and father of three children, to boot. Challenging life style. “It’s a matter of efficiency and doing the things that are important to you. Inevitably, this leads to the exclusion of other occupancies. For instance, I love to swim but don’t engage in time-consuming team sports. I play piano in my basement late in the evening. That’s relaxation for me. I’m not much for tv. Music and finance are totally different worlds. The creative, playful element of music is important to me. Contrary to adults, children are natural explorers, whereas we as adults have basically become of an exploitative nature. Playful exploration is a quality that is typical for jazz. It’s like being able to forget yourself and just see where the road will take you.”

It seems that the meticulousness and hands-on mentality of business have pervaded Walkate’s creative output. A genial personality that is lovingly described to yours truly as The Good Guy by trumpeter Teus Nobel, Walkate is a man with a plan. All records of his group The New York Second (the band name evolved from his mid-90’s group The New York Minute, which was inspired by Herbie Hancock’s version of the famed Eagles song, which was about “how big changes can happen in short periods of time – in a New York Minute, anything can change – an appropriate name for an improvisation-based band … Fast forward to 2014. The New York Minute had disbanded long ago, but again I felt I had a lot of compositions that were worth exploring. The name for this group could only be The New York Second”) use a theme as a springboard for songs and improvisation. Literature, philosophy and traveling experiences are constants in his line of work, which resulted in Bay Of Poets, Emergo, and Music At Night. Academic as his preoccupations may seem, Walkate’s musical palette is anything but affected by stilted snobbery and ranges from thoughtful to funky.

His latest, After The Hours, The Minutes, reflects on the phenomenon of time, inspired by the essay collection Over Het Verstrijken Van De Tijd by Dutch thinker Paul van Tongeren. Finally, eschewing the contributions of great group companions as Nobel and saxophonists Frank Paavo and Jesse Schilderink, Walkate focuses on trio interaction with ace bassist Lorenzo Buffa and young drum talent Max Sergeant. A collection of songs that benefit from the power of simplicity and delicate interplay and invites comparisons with the diverse likes of Ethan Iverson and Steely Dan.

FM: How did you come up with the idea of theme-inspired records?
HW: “Actually, I didn’t have preconceived goals at all. I started a group because I had a load of compositions that I thought would be nice to work out. I was honored to have some top-rate musicians contribute to my work. Then somebody said, why not make a CD. This was an incentive to make a serious effort, so I decided to put a lot of work in it and link the music to the story that was laid out in the booklet. This became Bay Of Poets. So, years later, here I am with the fourth New York Second album. It’s inspiring to work with a plan. Moreover, I think it appeals to a story-hungry audience. Sliding down in your seat, being in another world for a while… That’s the idea. I received a lot of uplifting comments on my Aldous Huxley-inspired Music At Night album. It’s not to say that albums of standards aren’t worthwhile, on the contrary, but I’m positive that jazz musicians are able to garner more attention with preconceived ideas.”

FM: How did you get into jazz?
HW: “My father and brother played piano. My father was a big fan of the Broadway repertoire. He regularly was in the United States for his work and came back with copies of the Real Book. We had two piano’s in the house and played together. I saw pictures of the great jazz men in these books and thought, hey, they play the American Songbook as well. I played in soul and funk groups. Slowly, I became aware of the influence of jazz on pop music. I found out that many jazz greats were session musicians. The Motown records, Wayne Shorter with Steely Dan, etcetera… It wasn’t until my early/mid 20s that I started to explore the history of jazz and improvisation. I made my first serious moves when I studied in Madrid. That’s where I met Josh Edelman, a great teacher. He really taught me a lot.”

FM: Yours is a relatively soft-hued approach, consisting of a light toucher and elegant construction.
HW: “I studied and played bebop when I lived in Chicago. There was Bloom School of Jazz, founded by David Bloom, a great old-school guy. But there isn’t much of bebop left in my piano playing. If you look at someone like Bill Evans, you notice that the thing that makes his playing swing is not so much syncopation but the melodic element. His timing is relatively straight. I like to explore this melodic aspect of jazz.

FM: How did the idea of After The Hours, The Minutes come about?
HW: “Contrary to Music At Night, which was written after my discovery of Huxley’s essay, all my pieces were more or less finished. I had a general idea of what the songs were about, but things really fell into place when I found a little book by Paul van Tongeren about the passage of time. It was fascinating because he wrote about things that I had been thinking about for quite a while. Seeing that he is much better at expressing these thoughts than me, I decided to use his quotes in the liner notes with his permission.”

FM: Time is self-evident but mysterious at the same… time.
HW: “The subjective experience of time is a totally different thing than absolute time measurement. Especially in jazz, you have that thing of being in the moment. It’s contradictory and ironic, because you know that is where you want to be but it’s quite impossible to seek it consciously, let alone find it. It’s a matter of coincidence.”

Harald Walkate


The New York Second, Bay Of Poets (2017)
Hadrian’s Wall, The Big Hotel (2018)
The New York Second, Emergo (2019)
The New York Second, Music At Night (2021)
The New York Second, After The Hours, The Minutes (2023)

Check out Harald’s website here.

Enrico LeNoci Common Ground (ZenneZ 2023)


Young LeNoci modernizes that good ol’ jazz guitar style in his own fashion.

Enrico LeNoci - Common Ground


Enrico LeNoci (guitar), Pietro Mirabassi (tenor saxophone), Arno Krijger (drums), Eric Ineke (drums)


in 2022 at De Smederij, Zeist


as ZenneZ 2023013 in 2023

Track listing

Pied Fries
Arjun’s Blues
In The House
Common Ground
Night Fears
Small Changes

Guitar players are an endearingly wacky lot. They are crazy about their iconic wooden toy, which replaced the saxophone as the lead instrument of popular music in the fifties and never looked back. I remember John Scofield telling me that he regarded himself as a guitarist first and foremost. (“My roots are the blues and Cream, I didn’t start off with bebop.”)

Enrico LeNoci, whom fellow Italian jazzers may soon dub “il nostre uomo a Den Haag”, is a guitarist that oozes the jazz feeling from the golden age of mainstream jazz. At the same time though, there is ample evidence of a passion for blues and blues rock. His debut album features veteran drummer Eric Ineke, mentor of generations of Hague students, penultimate sideman that played with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin and Chet Baker, among countless others. Ace organist Arno Krijger and tenor saxophonist Pietro Mirabasi complete the line-up.

Sprightly hard bop tunes are marked by the juicy sax of Mirabassi and sassy playing by LeNoci. In The House is sweet as honey, a string of melody lines that are as charming as the solos are enchanting. It has LeNoci replacing sassiness for tender and thoughtful romanticizing. Keys is comprised of fluid lines that bite each other’s tails, as if one hears Jimmy Raney working on a tune with Atilla Zoller, discussing various keys. The beautifully paced solo by Krijger steals the show. Here’s a band that fluently shifts through lanes, not least because of chauffeur Eric Ineke, either burning rubber or honking horns to keep everybody on his toes or gently cruising the crew back home.

Sleazily bended notes, tad of Sco’, pinch of Robben Ford even. These are facets of Arjun’s Blues and Night Fears. They won’t earn LeNoci a place in the Blues Hall of Fame but are fine additions of a promising real jazz debut.

Enrico LeNoci

Find Common Ground here.

This spring also finds LeNoci releasing his trio album Electric Nuts.

Arbenz/Krijger/Osby Conversations #9: Targeted (SR-9)


Ain’t no jive talkin’.

Arbenz:Krijger:Osby - Targeted


Florian Arbenz (drums, percussion), Greg Osby (alto saxophone, soprano saxophone), Arno Krijger (organ)


on May 1, 2022 at Hammer Studios, Basel


as SR-9 in 2023

Track listing

Freedom Jazz Dance
Sleeping Mountain
Vertical Hold
Seven Steps To Heaven
I Loves You Porgy
Old Shaman

Florian Arbenz knows very well that the DANCE part of the title of Eddie Harris’s signature tune Freedom Jazz Dance was not a random but deliberate choice, as much so as FREEDOM. Up until now, we have enjoyed nine versions by the Swiss drummer, three to go. It is included on each of Arbenz’s twelve-part Conversations series of albums with musicians of all creeds and scenes. A wondrous, hilariously ambitious and multifaceted project that to date has delighted many jazzophiles, more so since Conversations is also released on vinyl. Each version of Harris’s freewheeling groove anthem is marked by original rhythmic and harmonic discoveries.

Yet again, on #9: Targeted featuring longtime Arbenz collaborator Greg Osby and Dutch Hammond organist Arno Krijger, Arbenz offers an interesting interpretation. Before the Basel-based percussionist commences with his muscular, layered jazz rock groove, Osby vigorously introduces the triangle of freedom, jazz and dance on soprano sax, picking up a short while later during their greasy excursion into Harrisland with hi-octane jumps on, over and right through the fence. Krijger follows suit and, free as a bird and freed from ch-ch-changes, oozes liberating energy.

Sure enough, Victor Feldman’s Seven Steps To Heaven (remember Lonnie Smith’s version?) kicks it up a notch. Like companion piece Freedom Jazz Dance, it is cut and deboned like an ox and subsequently the meat is seasoned and grilled, bon appetit. A classy case of deconstruction and rebuilding. Gritty and crunchy, it merits definition as neo-Tony Williams Lifetime-ish. (Remember Emergency?) Once more, it features an appropriate introduction, here in the form of West-African-tinged percussion. In fine and fiery form, Krijger cuts loose and performs his album highlight.

Throughout, the prolific organist is an incisive storyteller and sound wizard, his mind constantly focusing on the big picture. Acclaimed in Europe, it should be only a matter of time until his prowess is equally valued by American aficionados.

Dreamy and fairylike, Arbenz’s Sleepy Mountain sets the alarm at half past six, so you can just stay still and doze. Elves are awakened by Osby’s flexible alto sax story, which resembles the flight of the eagle, the sound of the flapping of its wings echoing and carrying across green and foggy hills. The extremely tranquil take on Gershwin’s I Loves You Porgy (remember Miles Davis famously covering no less than 3 tunes included here?) focuses on Osby’s hushed soprano playing. The sanding of his tone and the backdrop of Krijger’s eerie David Lynch slash John Carpenter-sounds make it all the more poignant.

Listening to #9: Targeted, one gets the distinct feeling that the rapport of this intriguing ‘organ’ trio is such that they would come up with something original and spontaneous by every new visit to the studio. Or live stage, a situation that is eagerly awaited.


Find Conversations #9: Targeted here.

The Mangione Brothers Sextet - The Jazz Brothers

The Mangione Brothers Sextet The Jazz Brothers (Riverside 1960)

Young lions rip and roar.

The Mangione Brothers Sextet - The Jazz Brothers


Chuck Mangione (trumpet), Sal Nistico (tenor saxophone), Larry Combs (alto saxophone), Gap Mangione (piano), Bill Saunders (bass), Roy McCurdy (drums)


on August 8, 1960 at Bell Sound Studios, NYC


as RLP-335 in 1960

Track listing

Side A:
Something Different
Secret Love
Side B:
Struttin’ With Sandra
The Gap
The Girl Of My Dreams

Literally, the debut album by the sextet of Chuck and Gap Mangione is a family affair. But considering the enormous drive and zest of their band, it seems as if all six young guns have strong family ties. Their Cannonball Adderley-produced record showcases a tight-knit unit comfortably shifting gears in the lanes of its blues-drenched hard bop highway, while all concerned deliver strong, buoyant solos.

All concerned meaning: trumpeter Chuck Mangione, pianist Gap Mangione, tenor saxophonist Sal Nistico, alto saxophonist Larry Combs, bassist Bill Saunders and drummer Roy McCurdy, Chuck being the youngest at age 19, Gap two years older, Roy McCurdy the oldest at age 23. There’s nothing new under the sun, these gentlemen operate in the omnipresent mainstream format of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s but like Cannonball tackle blues, ballads and Songbook-based changes with gusto.

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet-coincidence is rather striking. It’s in the way that you use it and, in the slipstream of CAQ, hard bop is like a sparkling and shiny Ford Mustang in the hands of the Mangione outfit. Let me remind you as well that Cannonball would recruit the terribly swinging drummer Roy McCurdy in 1965, who would be a member of the quintet till the passing of his bandleader in 1975.

The Jazz Brothers doesn’t let up, maintaining high energy from the long bop line and fat shuffle of Nemesis, delicious and uplifting swingers Girl Of My Dream and Alice, ballad Secret Love and uptempo burner The Gap to the r&b-drenched stop-time affair Something Different. As we can see on the cover photo, The Mangione Sextet is an enthusiastic bunch. Take a good look at Gap, short-cropped hair, boyish grin, and Chuck, wider grin and the set of eyes of the sextet that mesmerized the photographer. The spikiest of crew-cuts. Back home in Rochester, New York, Chuck was taught by his mother to treat women with respect and he has learned with trial and error, having had plenty of flings already, that the core business of girls isn’t plain penetration. He plays sweetly and adds a tad of lemon, his lines of youth crack jokes to one another and reminisce about illegal entries into local jazz clubs, the overwhelming magic of brass, reed and pigskin bombs.

Sal Nistico is more heavy-set. Dark brows, South-Italian rugged aura, playful gaze. Could it be that The Jazz Brothers contains some of Nistico’s best statements on wax? He’s a solid-sounding boss, risk-taker and fire-eater. Him and the band clearly enjoyed an afternoon at Bell Sound Studios in New York City. Session in the pocket, picture taken, where to? Place to go, says McCurdy, is Jim & Andy’s. That’s where the big boys are. Might give Cannonball a ring. Stay put, I’ll hail a cab.