25 February 2012

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The week before leaving for Europe was mayhem. Primary focus- coordinating tour logistics and the Platform 1 mix; only get half of the files necessary to complete the project in time so only half of the album is mixed, all pieces from the 3rd night of performances in Coimbra: “Portal #33” (Broo), “Deep Beige/For Derek’s Kids” (Williamson/Swell), “Dim Eyes,” (Broo), “In Between Chairs,” (Vandermark). The music sounds really tremendous, a testament to the players involved and the method of developing material on tour and documenting the music after this process has taken place. As always, working with Bob Weston was a pleasure, finding someone to really collaborate with on this part of the record making process has been incredibly important. Took advantage of the last days of being home to watch some final movies: “Tree Of Life” (Terrence Malick), and the films of Michaela Grill. I found the narrative aspect to Malick’s picture to be stunning, expressive visual fragments (at his best, Malick’s ability to tell a story with images matches Kubrick’s); the “experimental” elements, however, felt heavy handed and unnecessary; a flawed and fantastic film, my favorite of his since “The Thin Red Line.” I was knocked out by Michaela’s short movies, rare to see a director with such a strong sense for the use of music. Though the content was quite different, there were structural elements to her films that reminded me of Michael Snow’s. Beautiful. Though I failed to complete half of the work I was hoping to during the couple months in Chicago, I still needed to get on the plane to Amsterdam on the 24th. Terrie Hessels met me at the airport (first project while I’m in Europe is to do some overdub work on the upcoming Getachew Mekuria album) and after a quick lunch we drove to Heerenveen to hear the ICP Orchestra perform at the art opening for a Han Benninnk exhibition at the Belvedere Museum. The last time I saw the group they played in Chicago without Misha Mengelberg, who had to leave the band’s U.S. tour due to illness. I wondered if I’d ever have the chance to hear the full ICP again and was thrilled at this surprise chance to do so. Misha was quite active in the music, and a highlight of the concert was a piece featuring just the strings and piano, more a New Music chamber piece than the Jazz-based material played during the rest of the sets. Bennink’s exhibit was terrific, lots of new collage pieces from 2011, and the museum put Han’s living room collection on display: furniture, objects, art. Again struck by the loose parallels to Peter Brotzmann’s artwork (mixed media, boxes, found materials added to those created, an interest in birds and flight [planes and zeppelins]), and the strong differences between them in tone and color. An inspiring first day “back.” Speaking of inspiring, how about one of the great uses of Jazz in film: