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25.10.08

Pork Pie




Pork Pie - Transitory - 1974 - Mps Records

Pork Pie were only in existence from 1973 until 1976, and released very few albums, under the Pork Pie name. "Transitory" from 1974 is one of the great jazz rock/fusion albums, and is often regarded as the best recording from the great keyboardist Jasper van t Hof'. "Transitory" covers ethnic and free jazz fusion, with Indian and Latin influences. At times, there are touches of psychedelic progressive jazz. The album is a great example of seventies progressive jazz rock, and one you should hear. It should especially appeal to fans of the great Focus band. Phillip Catherine who replaced Jan Akkerman in Focus in the late seventies, plays guitar on this album. Phillip is mainly responsible for the rock element on this album. If you can find it, listen to the "Focus - Live at BBC" album from 76/77 which features Phillip Catherine. Check out Pork Pie's great "Operanoia" album, and it is also worthwhile listening to the classic Mingus album, "The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady" which features Charlie Mariano. And if you have time check out Jan Akkerman's amazing "Live (Montreux) album where he plays "Transitory(Part 2)" from this Pork Pie album.


In 1983, the late Aldo Romano, and Philip Catherine made the brilliant "Alma Latina"album. I better stop here before I write a novel! (A.O.O.F.C)

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

A1 Epoch - Jasper van't Hof
A2 Transitory Part 1 - Jasper van't Hof
A3 Transitory Part 2 - Jasper van't Hof [ Dedicated to German bassist Peter Trunk [1936-1973] who died in an automobile accident ]
A4 Angel Wings - Philip Catherine

B1 Pudu Kkottai - Trad/Arr Charlie Mariano
B2 Something Wrong - Jasper van't Hof
B3 Bassamba Part 1 - J.F. Jenny-Clarke
B4 Bassamba Part 2 - Aldo Romano (R.I.P)
B5 March Of Oil-Sheikhs - Jasper van't Hof

BAND

Charlie Mariano - Flute, Arranger, Saxophone, Duet, Bamboo Flute, Soloist, Sax (Soprano), Nagaswarm, Sax (Alto)
Philip Catherine - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Soloist, Guitar (Electric)
Jasper van't Hof - Keyboards
J.F. Jenny-Clarke - Bass
Aldo Romano - Drums, Soloist
Ivanir "Mandrake" Do Nascimento - Percussion

Recorded May 17 & 18, 1974 at Conny's Studio, Neunkirchen, Germany: Remixed June 13 & 14, 1974 at by Conny Plank: Produced by Achim Hebgen: Released by MPS/BASF (Germany) 21 22099-0

REVIEWS

Funky electric fusion in the best 70s MPS tradition -- tight, choppy, and filled with loads of quick jazzy changes! The group here is the Porkpie combo of keyboardist Jasper Van't Hof -- who plays electric piano, celeste, and "prepared organ" with some really great sounds -- and this version of the group also features the great Charlie Mariano guesting on reeds -- playing some of his best post-Japan solos on alto, soprano sax, flutes, and nagaswaram! Mariano's sense of soul really helps deepen the record past just another fusion outing -- providing rich tones and flavors that keep things interesting throughout, and which almost have a similarly electric feel to Jasper's keyboards. Other players include Philip Catherine on guitars, JF Jenny Clarke on bass, and Aldo Romano on drums -- and titles include "Bassamba", "Pudu Kkottai", "Epoch", "Transitory", and "Angel Wings". (Amazing LP sleeve edition -- with full notes in English and German, new mastering, and even a paper wrap-around jacket over the gatefold sleeve!) © 1996-2008, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

Until the present day Jasper van’t Hof, the Dutch primary rock of keyboard wizardry, keeps coming back as a surprise with a diversity of projects. The man from Enschede has just formed his band HotLips, featuring different long time companions of his curriculum, furthermore he joined again with sax player Bob Malach, outed himself as a football fan with DJ Charles Petersohn and released an elaborated solo CD. But looking back over the three and a half decades of his career, it is his short but extremely intense period with the band Pork Pie (1973 -1976) that expresses his philosophy in the most striking way - even more than the invention of Pili Pili’s ethno fusion in the late 1980s - and also influenced many musicians at that period. Pork Pie wasn’t formed, it rather developed out of a process. After leaving the progressive band Association P.C. in 1972, Jasper played with a plethora of jazz musicians, including Jean-Luc Ponty, George Gruntz and Archie Shepp. To continue the electronic fusion path he had begun with the Association he also experimented with a group of colleagues that eventually crystallized as the legendary band with the allusion to the famous Lester Young standard in their name. With Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine by his side and Aldo Romano as well as J.F. Jenny-Clark in the rhythm section, the newcomer soared up towards an astonishing artistry within this project. In which, by the way, he took the role of the bandleader - although being the youngest musician of the quintet with just 27 years of age. ”Transitory”, the group’s first output, shows van’t Hofs diverse qualities in every single track, reflecting his flexibility and readiness to break down barriers between rock, electronic, psychedelia and free elements, and gracing them all with metric complexity. But it’s also thanks to the extraordinary skills of van’t Hofs four band members, each of them in the heyday of their career, and their capacity of interaction hardly to be matched by any collective at that time, that this recording became one of the most important jazz rock classics of all times. The rocking side of “Transitory” can be immediately felt in the full attack opener “Epoch” with breathtaking solos by Mariano and van’t Hof and at a more melancholic and melodious way in “Angel Eyes” which shows Philip Catherine with amazing inventiveness on his guitar. In “Something Wrong” and “March of The Oil-Sheikhs” the band leader shows his wit when experimenting with complex rhythm patterns, which he never uses in a pure academical way but with humour and even commenting on recent political issues like the oil crisis. Van’t Hof shares his love for strange rhythms with Mariano who delivers a meditative insight into his studies of South Indian music in “Pudu Kkottai”, which develops from exotic improvisation into a full-fledged jazz rock piece. A “world music” touch is also woven in by drummer Aldo Romano and guest musician Mandrake from Brazil when they imitate a samba school from a jazzy point of view. Most astonishing although is the title track which shows Jasper van’t Hof as a spooky soundscaper on the keyboard, creating psychedelic and symphonic effects ahead of his time. A revolutionary work which marks the first giant step in the discography of Jasper van’t Hof. © BY PROMISING-MUSIC.COM / 2007

It's reissues like this that give every fusion fan goose-bumps, and justify the reason why those still into CD's are hardcore collectors of fine art at heart. Transitory, the 1974 release from Jasper van't Hof's supergroup fusion ensemble Pork Pie, is an amazing slice of Dutch jazz-rock, easily as exciting as what acts were producing over here in America at the time (Return to Forever, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra), and an album that has held up quite well over the years. Never heard of Pork Pie? Well, don't feel bad, I'm sure many other fusion lovers haven't either, and that's a real shame. Jasper van't Hof is a well known keyboard player on the jazz and fusion scene in the Netherlands, and he put together Pork Pie with guitarist Philip Catherine, sax/flute player Charlie Mariano, bassist J.F. Jenny-Clark, percussion player Ivanir "Mandrake" Do Nascimento, and drummer Aldo Romano in 1973. Pork Pie is presented in a wonderful mini-lp gatefold sleeve design, with a thick booklet containing extensive liner notes and some photos. The 24-Bit remaster treatment is astounding-this is easily one of the best sounding 70's fusion releases I have heard in some time. "Epoch" blasts through your speakers with plenty of sonic force, Mariano's squonking sax interrupted by plenty of spacey Fender Rhodes lines from van't Hof (recalling Corea at his most adventurous), all the while the blistering drum work of Romano flailing away in the background. The two-part title track features lots of spooky keyboard effects, flute, and soul searching sax, while "Angel Wings" is a more melodic, groove laden jazz piece, Jenny-Clark's rumbling bass lines providing a solid groove for Catherine's stinging guitar lines and Mariano's soaring flute. Elements of free-jazz pop up on the raucous "Pudu Kkottai", recalling Ornette Coleman's early work, which is followed by the intoxicating sounds of "Something Wrong", littered with swirling electric piano, husky sax work, and slippery bass lines. Sort of like a mix of Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra on that one. The two-part "Bassamba" is a wild vehicle for Jenny-Clark on the acoustic bass (man, this guy can play!), which quickly morphs into a funky fusion vamp with all the players locked in. The album ends with the rocking "March of the Oil Shieks", an almost King Crimson meets Weather Report barnburner, Catherine laying down shards of Frippian guitar licks over tight fusion rhythms and spacey electric piano. Pretty remarkable stuff all around, from the packaging to the actual music itself, so if you are a fan of 70's fusion, this will be a must have in your collection. © Pete Pardo, www.seaoftranquility.org

Widely, and justly, regarded among the most important fusion recordings of its era, this 1974 album waited almost 35 years before finally making it onto CD and the first thing that strikes you is, just how warm the whole thing still sounds. So many of Pork Pie's early 70s pioneering peers sound weak and thin today, but Transitory is just as electrifying now as it was at the time. Philippe Catherine's guitar playing is largely responsible for this; under-rated even by the people who acknowledge his genius, Catherine cuts through his bandmates with such finesse and imagination that, even when you're sure you know where everything is leading, the guitar is on hand to reroute your expectations. The two part title track is especially revelatory, while we all crack a smile at the final cut, "March of the Oil Scheikhs. When Transitory was originally released, the west was reeling from a massive oil shortage. It returns to the shelves all these years later -- and the west is reeling from another one. This is one of the albums that will help you get through it. © Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

Fusion is perhaps progressive rock's more white collar cousin. Arising from the jazz scene at the tail end of the 1960's, fusion co-opted the energy and electricity and volume of rock and roll and added it to an already diverse set of influences and styles. While one might be forgiven in thinking that fusion was primarily an English and American phenomenon (bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return to Forever and the electric Miles Davis bands come to mind immediately), the continental European scene featured some smoking hot fusion groups as well. Dutch meyboard maestro Jaspar van't Hof had just left the progressive band Association P.C. in 1972, having also worked with such luminaries as Archie Shepp, Jean Luc-Ponty and George Gruntz. Piecing together a band to carry on the electric/fusion angles he had been exploring, van't Hof brought together Charlie Mariano (saxes. flutes), Philip Catherine (guitar), J.F. Jenny-Clark (bass) and Aldo Romano (drums) under the Pork Pie aegis, alluding to the famous Lester Young jazz standard. Though Transitory would be the first release by this short lived combo (Pork Pie remained together ffrom 1973 to 1976), it features a band fully formed in its style, bridging the gaps between rock and jazz, psychedelia, Indian and Brazilian musics, and doing so effortlessly. The 2008 re-issue of Pork Pie's debut release on Promising Music is an eye-opener. The album is packaged in the currently popular mini-LP fomat, complete with gatefold cardboard sleeve. Furthermore, the CD itself is printed to look like a vinyl LP, and packaged in a jacked that mimics the traditional sleeve that LPs would have. The album has been carefully mastered, keeping in mind the importance of dynamics and sound quality. You'll not get any brick wall remastering here...quiet passages retain their gentle quiet, while heavier segments pop from the speakers without inducing ear fatigue. This is the way reissues and remasters should be done...taking utmost care to maintain the integrity of the original source. Jazz fans will find this release much to their liking, but it also serves as a great appetizer for rock listeners interested in dipping their toes into the fusion pool. © 2008 Music Street Journal

TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW

EPOCH - Transitory opens with an upbeat, percolating little number written by band leader van't Hof. Charlie Mariano's sax playing is right on the brink of chaos, while the main theme, reiterated several times through the composition as a sort of waypoint and launching pad for each solo section, is eminently memorable and hummable. Van't Hof's electric piano chops are incredible; if you thought Rick Wakeman had some pretty dexterous moments on piano, you need to hear van't Hof's playing on this piece. Philip Catherine adds some brief bursts of electric guitar that almost seem to come out of nowhere, yet add just enough that their absence would be felt strongly. Not over-long at 7:45, this is an impressive lead off composition for this album. TRANSITORY (PART 1) - An ominous low-pitched rumble and some odd, not quite identifiable sounds (I think it's slide guitar, but I can't be one hundred percent sure) lead into the first part of the album's title piece. Mariano's flute playing is keening, not gentle as one often expects flute work to be. One would be excused for thinking this piece might fit well on a 1973-1974 Hawkwind album, as the combination of flute playing and ambient/space sounds would not at all be out of place on an album like Hall of the Mountain Grill or Warrior on the Edge of Time. Three minutes in sax playing almost evokes a bagpipe sound comparison, with backing that sounds somewhat like a Fripp soundscape... TRANSITORY (PART 2) - Part II arises from the same ambient backing that was the foundation for the first half of "Transitory." Mariano's sax playing is darker, lower in timbre and richer, mixing well with treated organ from van't Hof. Taken together, parts I and II are almost two sides of the same coin, showing light and shade, exploring the vast possibilities of musical colour and shape and sound that the same set of instruments are capable of creating. "Transitory" is about as far away from rock as one can get compared to album opener "Epoch," yet the piece fits the exploratory, searching nature this album seeks to provide. ANGEL WINGS - Written by guitarist Philip Catherine, this piece sees a return to more rock based song structures. The rhythm section (Aldo Romano and J.F. Jenny-Clark) practically percolates along, their playing bubbly and almost joyful. Catherine gets an extended opportunity to show off some fluid guitar playing skills, his instrument heavily treated and sounding as itf it could have been lifted from some early 1960's garage band classic, but with far more skill and ability than any garage band could muster. Ivanir Do Nascimento guests here, contributing hand percussion that only adds to the bubbling rhythm that drives this composition along. PUDU KKOTTAI - This traditional was arranged by Charlie Mariano, and features him on bamboo flute. Originally the opening track on side 2 of Transitory, this piece sees the group moving in a more free jazz direction, with the opening 3 to 4 minutes having next to no rhythmic or tonal center to hold on to. A foundation finally begins to rise, almost organically, from the musical chaos, introducing some significant eastern/Indian musical influences to Pork Pie's bubbling musical pot. SOMETHING WRONG - Van't Hof's gentle electric piano intros this composition, which sounds as if it has been placed here as a direct reaction to the chaos that typified "Pudu Kkottai." Quieter, gentler, "Something Wrong" is still a showcase for some almost psychic instrumental interplay. The second half of this song would not at all be out of place on one of Frank Zappa's instrumental/jazz based albums of similar vintage, showing that he was far from the only musician making this kind of music at the time. BASSAMBA (PART 1) - Pork Pie moves to South America for the next two tracks, two parts making up a piece called "Bassamba." As the name implies, this first part is a showcase for bassist J.F. Jenny-Clark, and his playing does not disappoint. This first part is mostly bass solo, with some drumming and keys to tie everything together. One hears very little samba in the track. – at least the half presented here. BASSAMBA (PART 2) - Suddenly the listener is transported south of the equator, where Latin percussion and bet-you-can't-not-dance-to-it grooves drag you out of your seat and onto the dance floor. Charlie Mariano contributes some tasty alto sax, and the band simmers along behind him. MARCH OF THE OIL-SHEIKS - This is such an appropriate title, even today - perhaps especially today. One can't help but visualize puppets or marionettes being jerked wildly back and forth on their strings to the jerky rhythms coaxed out by van't Hof and his group. There's an edgy, almost avant-garde feel to this composition, with choppy guitar, pulsing bass, and skittering electric piano playing. Bursts of sax and flute add to the chaos, and one is left wondering...is this jazz? Is this rock? Does it matter? It's impressive how a piece that sounds so chaotic can actually tie together nicely, and under less skilled hands, it might not have happened. Van't Hof and his group show that they can handle anything thrown at them over the course of this debut album, and "March of the Oil-Sheiks" is a daring and impressive closer for this release. © 2008 Music Street Journal

ABOUT PORK PIE / "Transitory"

From sideman to bandleader — from the unbridled, exuberant talent to the mature, sovereign musician, fully aware of all his capabilities — Jasper van't Hof has come a long way in the past year and a half since leaving the Association P.C. at the end of 1972 (the group in which he, virtually coming from nowhere, played his way up to one of the most celebrated new keyboard-players) until founding PORK PIE. In this period he gathered valuable experience in numerous encounters with jazz greats from Europe and overseas. For him they presented constantly changing, forever-new challenges. Apart from gigs with the Jean Luc Ponty Experience, the Chris Hinze Combination, with Peter Trunk's Sincerely P.T., Manfred Schoof's New Jazz Trio, George Gruntz' Piano Conclave, or with Archie Shepp, Jasper van't Hof also gave concerts with groups under his own name, from which then developed the present personnel of PORK PIE. The long selection process yielded good results. One need not be an expert to recognize the "outstanding names" — thus the music magazine SOUNDS — whom Jasper van't Hof has grouped around him. More important yet, the musical relations within PORK PIE are so strongly defined that no member of the group can be exchanged without destroying essential characteristics of PORK PIE. There doesn't seem to be any other group in Europe which accomplishes in such exemplary fashion as PORK PIE the synthesis between the most different musical categories and styles, so symptomatic for the 1970s. If we call CHARLIE MARIANO the outstanding musician of this group, then this will hardly be a put-down for any other member. Charlie Mariano is now 51 years old. He was born in 1923 in Boston, Mass., and is of Italian descent. No more than a handful of musicians of that generation have kept step with the ever-changing forms of jazz — Phil Woods and Albert Mangelsdorff, for example — but beyond Miles Davis I know of no other musician who has continued to remain so "young". Jasper van't Hof says: "Compared to Charlie I sometimes feel old!" Charlie Mariano combines the assurance and maturity of his many years of active jazz-playing with the feeling of the 20- to 30-years olds. (After all, he did play with rock groups, e.g. the German "Embryo" and the Dutch "Supersister".) Charlie Mariano's musical activities cover such a wide range that it is necessary to recall for today's audience: he made his contribution to jazz history back in the '50s with Stan Kenton's Orchestra and with Charles Mingus, as one of the most important alto saxophonists of the post-Charlie Parker era. Conversely it has to be pointed out to some of his older fans that he is no longer the "bebopper" they used to know: today he combines contemporary modal playing and Indian meditativeness with traces of Charlie Parker. His instruments have been added to: the flute, the nagaswaram (a sort of South-Indian oboe), and the soprano saxophone, on which he has found a very personal and exceptionally beautiful tone. "Tears of sound", as Charles Mingus once called Charlie Mariano's alto saxophone playing, would be even more appropriate to his soprano tone. Born in Italy in 1941 and a long-time resident of Paris, drummer Aldo Romano, in the '60s, was regarded as one of the leading free-jazz drummers in Europe (a.o. he played with the groups of Gato Barbieri, Don Cherry — whom he also accompanied in the US — and Joachim Kühn). In 1971 he founded in Paris the pop group "Total Issue" (with bassist Henri Texier and George Locatelli), with which he had a certain degree of success as a singer and songwriter. One of the things that won him over again to the jazz scene was his enthusiasm for Jasper van't Hof's piano playing. Today, he combines both experiences and overlays it with a dash of Brazilian samba rhythms: a combination that lends charm and elegance to his drumming. Charm and elegance — they also describe Aldo Romano's bearing and appearance. Bassist J.F. Jenny-Clark, born in 1944 in France, must be counted among the leading practitioners of his instrument — on the jazz scene as well as in the realm of classical music. In 1969 he won a competition as best bassist in Europe in the classical field. Contemporary composers of concert music, as for instance Stockhausen, Boulez and Berio, continuously call on him. Thus he could not make himself available for a jazz concert at last year's Donaueschingen Music Festival because he had already been engaged for the first performance of a composition by Globokar. As jazz bassist, J.F. Jenny-Clark belongs to that select group of Europeans who are also in demand for record sessions in the US — several times for instance, with Gato Barbieri. He also took part in Barbieri's latest tour of Europe. Furthermore J.F. Jenny-Clark — like Aldo Romano — has a special empathy for Brazilian music. His collaborations with Baden Powell and Egberto Gismonti attest to it. The Belgian guitarist PHILIP CATHERINE (born 1942 in London) today is living in Brussels. His professional career started with the group of Lou Bennett. He became well known as a member of the Jean Luc Ponty Experience (1970-1972). Almost all European big bands of the last few years had his services as guitarist, Peter Herbolzheimer's Rhythm Combination & Brass being one of them. His versatility also made him a much-demanded studio musician. Philip Catherine joins the rich tradition of the jazz guitar with the legacy of Jimi Hendrix: his playing, through its charm, melodiousness and balance, provides a pleasant contrast to the Mahavishnu syndrome from which so many jazz-rock guitarists are suffering today. Only 27 (born 1947 in the Netherlands), JASPER VAN'T HOF is the youngest musician of PORK PIE as well as its leader: this, too, speaks for the recognition which he is enjoying from the other musicians. The handicaps of his auto didacticism have long been overcome (today he is a personality of professional versality), the advantages he has kept: spontaneity (George Gruntz says: "Creative every minute!") and unmistakable originality. Jasper van't Hof has a special aptitude for unsymmetrical and tricky meters: where others have to practice hard and must count, he plays with the same easy self assurance as on 4/4 meters (which, incidentally are in the minority on TRANSITORY). Jasper van't Hof is one of the great originals on the current scene, more musical than most of his rock colleagues, who were built up by the music industry; and he's more modest: instead of tons of equipment he is using only an organ/electric piano combination with a number of attachments. With this instrumentation he has such a variety of electronic sound-colors at his command, that one actually does presume "tons of keyboards". Since he uses the most diverse and polyphonic sounds in his playing, it offers a refreshing alternative to the almost modish and usually cliché-bound sounds of the synthesizer. Needless to say that Jasper van't Hof, the Dutchman, possesses the humor for which his fellow-countrymen in general and Dutch jazz musicians in particular (Han Bennink, Willem Breuker) are known. Once again George Gruntz about Jasper: "A man with a great sense of humor and impeccable taste!" EPOCH is the slightly rock-inclined opener, which also makes clear that PORK PIE does not necessarily intend to follow the well-trodden paths of faddish jazz/rock patterns: through the light, Brazilian-inspired drumming of Aldo Romano and through the combination of acoustic and electric instruments. The electronic achievements in this way yield a more "humane" quality, and the group sound in general has more warmth and depth. Several times, in Charlie Mariano's alto saxophone solo, there appear sudden Charlie Parker phrases: "Bird symbols" which signalize: "Charlie Parker Lives!" TRANSITORY was written by Jasper van't Hof upon hearing about the death of German bassist Peter Trunk, who had a fatal accident New Year's Eve 1974: It is an unusual composition of transcendental character. In Part I, which is again subdivided in two parts, Jasper and Charlie improvise in sensitive dialogue, Jasper on organ/electric piano and Charlie at first on flute, then on soprano saxophone. Part II is an impressive demonstration of the possibilities of combining acoustic and electronic instruments: a sound as big as the Berlin Philharmonic, and yet there are only three players: soprano, prepared organ and bowed bass. No symphony orchestra, no tricks in the studio, no over-dubbing. Charlie's soprano saxophone reminds us of another Mingus quote: "Charlie is love and soul." Transitory leads into the romantic rocking ANGEL WINGS, in which Philip Catherine plays one of the most beautiful solos of his career, a solo of fascinating logic and perfect construction as if it were indeed floating on angel wings. Side 2 begins with PUDU KKOTTAI, a traditional melody from South India, in 5/8 + 5/8 + 4/4 + 3/4. In the past years Charlie Mariano repeatedly spent several months there to study Indian folk music. Charlie introduces Pudu Kkottai on a bamboo flute and then switches over to the nagaswaram, whose penetrating tone requires a proportionate amount of physical exertion. If we disregard the jazz accompaniment, we could feel transferred to an Indian street scene. With a further switch to the soprano, Charlie Mariano returns us to more familiar jazz surroundings. SOMETHING WRONG is a short, romanticizing statement with an electric piano introduction by Jasper van't Hof. The piece takes its name from the rhythm: 11/8 = 3/3/3/2. Every time we are beginning to feel comfortable in the ternary meter, suddenly there is a beat missing . . . After what has been said about the subject of Brazil, it is obvious how the feature number of J.F. Jenny-Clark and Aldo Romano will sound: BASSAMBA Part I is the exact title: a bass solo played in samba rhythm plus drums; BASSAMBA Part II is an "electrified" Escola do Samba with rock overtones, a co-equal percussion collective by all six musicians. MARCH OF THE OIL SHEIKHS is Jasper van't Hof's musical contribution to overcoming the oil crisis, which of course hit the Netherlands the hardest last year. A typical Jasper van't Hof composition: broken rhythm (5/4), a shot of humor, and a strange mixture of different influences which he can't identify himself. [ FROM LINER NOTES [Liner notes by Achim Hebgen, translated by O.E. Syman : © hepcat 1950, Mar 20, 2008, www.charliemarianotribute.de/ln197406.html ]

ABOUT JASPER VAN'T HOF

JASPER VAN'T HOF was born in Enschede, Holland on June 30, 1947. The child of a jazz trumpeter and a classically trained singer and pianist, his great interest in music became evident at an early age. The groundwork was laid with private piano lessons. At the age of fourteen he wrote his first compositions and became increasingly interested in jazz. His parents would have liked to send him to a conservatory, but JASPER VAN'T HOF preferred to play live. At nineteen he was already participating in various jazz festivals and raking in prizes. He celebrated his first great European success with the band ASSOCIATION P. C., founded in 1969 by VAN'T HOF along with the Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois and the German guitarist Toto Blanke. The bassist was sometimes the Dutchman Peter Krijnen, sometimes the German Sigi Busch. The band produced a synthesis of jazz and rock never before heard in such high quality and acclaimed as a sensation at the Berlin Jazztage of 1971. "Eighty percent of ASSOCIATION P. C. was electronics", JASPER recalls, and he accordingly soon belonged to the circle of jazz musicians interested in exploring the sound possibilities newly created by the electronic instrumentarium. This he undertook in a formation founded in 1973 with Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine, the group’s name - PORK PIE - alluding to an old Lester Young number. Of the two excellent albums that came out of this collaboration, the second one, TRANSISTORY, was dedicated to the bassist Peter Trunk who had died in a car accident in New York in 1974. It was also very much in the Trunk spirit that PORK PIE merged the technical-artistic virtuosity of jazz with the dynamic extroversion of rock. JASPER VAN'T HOF recorded his first solo album, THE SELF KICKER, in 1976, following the dissolution of PORK PIE, and it was already a clear avowal of faith to fully developed melody and precisely conceived music; it is still one of JASPER’s favourite albums today. This period also witnessed a number of duo contacts with musicians like Archie Shepp, Manfred Schoof, Wolfgang Dauner, Zbigniew Seifert, Toto Blanke, Stu Martin, Alphonse Mouzon and Bob Malach. And solo performances by JASPER VAN'T HOF were also not rare during those years: as a keyboarder with "all the works,” but often alone at the concert grand as well. Interestingly and curiously enough, the readers of a jazz magazine elected JASPER VAN'T HOF as "Europe's second-best synthesiser player" in 1978, despite the fact that he had played piano, e-piano and organ exclusively until that time - albeit frequently connected to various kinds of electrical effect devices. The year 1984 marked the founding of the Afro-European formation PILI-PILI. Its first album was a major success, above all in the dance and pop scene. The legendary fifteen-minute title track "Pili Pili", which gave the band its name, resounded from the approximately 160,000 copies sold of this firstling, raising it to the status of a cult number. VAN'T HOF worked primarily in Germany, due perhaps to the proximity of the border, perhaps also to his marriage to a German woman of Hamelin. PILI-PILI's success has taken VAN'T HOF on eighteen concert tours to date; the band appears on stage in Germany twenty to thirty times a year. PILI-PILI was a stepping stone for Angelique Kidjo, now an internationally successful ethnopop singer who worked with JASPER VAN'T HOF in his band for four years and recorded a number of CDs with him. The members of PILI-PILI include Marion Klein (Bielefeld), also a musician in the ethno band Dissidenten, the bassist Frank Itt of Hamburg and the trumpeter Eric Vloeimans. The band is VAN'T HOF's most continuous project and celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2004. Under the title OPERANOIA, PORK PIE underwent a revival in 1992 with Philip Catherine, Charlie Mariano and Don Alias. JASPER VAN'T HOF has published his some seventy albums almost exclusively with German record companies. It was not until recently - on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday - that major tribute was paid him in Holland for the first time, in the form of the renowned BIRD AWARD. The two organ CDs recorded in Italy two years ago received wide recognition, and in the meantime VAN'T HOF has played the church organ at well-known classical music festivals. In April 2003, twenty-five years after his first piano solo CD, a new studio solo CD appeared finally. It was recorded in November 2002 in the broadcasting hall of Radio Bremen. The main theme is the explainable, mathematical and recurrent aspect of music, inspired by Gödel, Escher and Bach, who traced this formula back to its origins in mathematics, painting and music, respectively. The title of the new CD is AXIOMA (JARO 4250-2) - also an anniversary album for JARO, namely our 150th! © www.jaspervanthof.com/index.php?id=9 All rights reserved

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK Pt 1

LINK Pt 2

Anonymous said...

Ah-ha! another Jazz/Fusion album to try out! I will give it a good listen!

-->D.Moose

A.O.O.F.C said...

Let me know what you think of it,-->D.Moose. Complex stuff, but worth getting into, methinks!