Eric Boeren - cornet
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Michael Moore - alto saxophone, clarinet
Tobias Delius - tenor saxophone, clarinet
Ernst Glerum - bass
Michael Vatcher - drums, percussion
A raw live recording of the complete last concert with this personnel,
who had been working together for eleven years,
in the very supportive environment of the Plushok in Baarle-Nassau.
For music lovers, but not for audiophiles.
Available Jelly Plushok, Baarle Nassau, NL 3 march, 2007
28A: "Mr. Moore composed 5 of the 7 songs here with a couple of eclectic covers like "Isfahan" by Billy Strayhorn and a traditional song from Myanmar. For "Lovelock" three of the horn play a theme while Tobias Delius takes a rip roaring solo. Drum wiz Michael Vatcher sounds as if he is about to spin out of control until the sextet breaks into a mutant Dixieland groove. While trombone ace Wolter Weirbos take a smokin' solo, the rest of the group plays some rather lop-sided swing. The traditional song from Myanmar (or Burma) has an exotic laid back charm with infectious swirling horns. Mr. Moore does a fine job of providing odd yet thoughtful harmonies for the four horns while the rhythm team consistently shines always shifting to accommodate whichever direction the songs evolve through. "Fanfare" starts off with all for horns playing in tight orbits around one another, sputtering and spinning intensely until they come together for that great sixties horn-band theme. In number of ways Available Jelly are similar in sound to the ICP Orchestra only with the hijinks of Han Bennink but still with a sense of humor in part. All four horns (alto & tenor sax, trumpet & trombone) get a few chances to solo but it is often those infectious background horn harmonies that really makes this consistently enchanting. At times it sounds as if the sextet is playing with slightly drunken swagger but they remain tight, loose and spirited throughout. Strayhorn's gem "Isfahan" get a particularly elegant reading with some especially charming Ellingtonian buttery saxes floating on top. I can't wait to hear the other set since this one is so fine!"
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
28B: "Considering that the 1st set had a great Billy Strayhorn cover, this set contains three Duke Ellington covers. This discs starts with the relatively rare "Village of the Virgins" by Duke, a somber, moody delight. Although you can hear the audience quietly, the sound is well captured and warm. Mr. Wierbos plays some fine trombone with a plunger while the clarinets sing righteous harmonies. "Rat-Like Box" simmer softly with layers of rolling horns rotating together in a dream-like state. A number of Moore's pieces are filled with selective spaces so that we have to fill in the blanks in the structure. Reminiscent of the ICP Orchestra, some of these songs are filled with disparate parts the work together when sees or hears the entire picture. Some pieces feature sections of fascinating unaccompanied horns playing shrewd harmonies."
Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
"On the second disc in this two-disc release from Michael Moore’s Available Jelly, the band performs a version of the Ellington/Troop classic “The Feeling of Jazz.” And what a fitting tune it is, for that’s precisely what the band provides on this fantastic live recording. All the emotions and sensations that jazz embodies are here in spades: joyous exuberance, somber reflection, unstoppable energy, and a bit of humor thrown in for good measure as well.
Moore (alto sax, clarinet) is joined here by his long-standing collaborators: Eric Boeren (cornet), Wolter Wierbos (trombone), Tobias Delius (tenor sax, clarinet), Ernst Glerum (bass), and Michael Vatcher (drums, percussion). The group delights in teetering just on the edge of chaos, as tunes threaten to come completely unraveled, only to be woven back together despite the odds. Playing of this nature can only happen when the members of a group know each other so well that they can experiment with this kind of controlled recklessness, and these guys played together for well over a decade, so they can definitely pull it off. The rhythm team of Glerum and Vatcher is essential to this process, as both manage somehow to keep things anchored on even the most complex tracks, even when things seem to be going off the rails.
Most of the tunes are Moore’s compositions, along with several well-chosen standards taken from the Ellington canon; in addition to the aforementioned “Feeling of Jazz,” the group offers beautiful performances of Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” and Ellington’s “Village of the Virgins” and “I’m Just a Lucky So-and-So.” These songs are played fairly straightforwardly, without too many hijinks; Moore’s feel for Ellington’s work is spot-on, and the arrangements capture the moods of Ellington’s pieces quite nicely. Indeed, the winding, rich harmonies played by the four horns are one of the greatest strengths of all the songs, including Moore’s own pieces. Moore clearly knows how to write horn charts, and he does it with intelligence and creativity for maximum advantage here. Whether the tune is a bouncy, energetic piece like “Kwela for Taylor,” or a more melancholy, restrained number such as “Chy,” Moore crafts subtle and intriguing harmonies consistently.
In addition to the melodic sophistication of Moore’s songs, what stands out about the group’s work as a whole is its stylistic range: the group can switch rhythmic structures seamlessly, going from freely-improvised to composed sections with barely a ripple. And the jazz tradition in all its grandeur is alive and well in these pieces, as a bit of Dixieland or old-fashioned swing can come into play whenever Vatcher and Glerum decide to take the tunes in that direction. A great example of the range of styles in Moore’s writing would be “Bundle of Shorts,” on the second disc. A clever mix of free playing and composed horn parts begins the track, with a fair bit of growling and squealing along the way from all four horns; following that, a groove gradually develops, with Glerum and Vatcher asserting themselves and providing a pulse for the others to follow. Vatcher introduces a shuffle-beat behind the horns at this point, sometimes obviously, other times less so. Finally, about midway through the tune Vatcher really lets loose, as with Glerum he introduces a driving, New Orleans-style second line march rhythm, and the horns really pick up steam behind it. Then, as if this weren’t enough, yet another rhythmic variation is brought into the mix, as we’ve suddenly traveled from New Orleans to South Africa, and the tune ends rapturously with a township groove. An amazing mix of sounds, impressions, and moods, in just one piece. And both discs are full of such powerful, imaginative music-making. The “Feeling of Jazz” indeed.
It’s a special treat to hear this music in a live environment, as the musicians’ enthusiasm and sense of fun clearly invigorate their appreciative crowd. This was billed as the last concert recorded by this line-up, which does add a note of sadness to the proceedings; but we can still be grateful that this document was able to capture the group’s distinctive spirit so well. Curiously, the discs are being sold separately—but I wouldn’t want to be without either one. They are both superb and come highly recommended."
"1/2" - By Troy Dosters, freejazz-stef.blogspot, August 2012