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Michael Moore - alto sax, clarinet, composition
Wolter Wierbos - trombone
Wilbert de Joode - bass
Michael Vatcher - drums and hammer dulcimer

Recorded at the Bimhuis @ Felix Meritis festival in this wonderful and historic venue in the center of Amsterdam before a very boisterous and appreciative audience. This was the first, and possibly the last, concert of this quartet. The music was specifically written for this occasion and for these special players.

"If Live in Chicago favors clarinet, the rowdier FELIX Quartet belongs to Moore's alto. That band is a fresh mix of old faces: Vatcher, Wolter Wierbos who's played with Moore in half the bands in Holland, and bassist Wilbert de Joode – oddly enough making his first appearance on a Moore record, after sharing two decades in Eric Boeren's quartet and umpty-zillion Tuesday nights improvising at A'dam institution Zaal 100, where Vatcher is also a regular. Indeed this happy foursome is like a Zaal 100 improvising group dragooned into playing tunes, and relocated to the Felix Meritis, a lovely old theater with woody ambience that the band uses to its advantage. Sounds coalesce and disperse in space.

A few pieces slowly build from a very quiet start, perhaps with Vatcher pursuing some gambit at ant-farm volume; the theme might only emerge midway through. In such a loose and open setting you can't do better than have Wierbos as your second. Nobody shadows quite like him – he doesn't just zero in on (or just off) your pitch, he'll meld (or mess) with your tone and vibrato too. That can make for some undulating two-horn theme statements and effectively grinding voicings. In collective space, if Wierbos hears a hole he'll plug it, swooping out of the background to inject a phrase, and maybe recede just as quickly (to listen for his next opportunity). On "Tis Abay" – with dulcimer as Persian santur again, adding to a Mideastern effect – Wolter rushes pure air through the horn, the way Moore will, a sound like weather coming in: music from and for a rainy town. The trombonist hears sliphorn sonics from country brass bands to Nanton to Mangelsdorff, and can make you hear all that at once (and much else) behind his line.

Moore's tunes shunt them into varied areas; pithy themes will punctuate and subtly shape the blowing. "Lower 40"'s galumphing staccato brings out Wilbert's popcorn-popper pizzicato. With 1001 Zaal 100 nights behind them, the bassist and drummer hook up in myriad effortless ways, and never throw each other off, despite their idiosyncrasies. De Joode isn't much for drawing on blues phraseology, so it's funny to hear him pound a Willie Dixon-ish riff on "Big Day," where Wierbos howls and yelps a like a dog left out in the rain – one suspects, like some very specific dog he's overheard. Michael Moore in his solo quotes the first line of "Summertime," unafraid to go there."

Kevin Whitehead - Point of Departure, June 2016.

Voor het zomerfestival BIMHUIS AT FELIX & FOAM in augustus 2014 stelde Michael Moore een droomkwartet samen met trombonist Wolter Wierbos, contrabassist Wilbert de Joode en slagwerker Michael Vatcher. Eigenwijze musici die een geheel eigen 'stem' hebben ontwikkeld op hun instrument, maar ook goed kunnen samenspelen. Met dit kwartet speelt Moore geen intieme muziek die balanceert op de rand van de absolute schoonheid, maar ligt de nadruk op een meer schurende en vrije manier van improviseren. Geen keurslijf van subtiliteit, maar ruimte voor gekke geluiden en foute noten. Met name Wierbos speelt met een rauwheid die aan de oude jazztrombonisten refereert. Moore opereert in deze andere omgeving vrijer en gedurfder. Contrabassist De Joode beschikt niet over fluwelen vingers maar over een stevige eeltige duim en slagwerker Vatcher is veel dynamischer dan in het Fragile Quartet. Meer dan eens klinkt er op de achtergrond een melodie die een zeker blues gevoel oproept, muziek die refereert aan Moore's Amerikaanse roots.

Het FELIX Quartet is een experiment dat om meer vraagt, maar volgens de website van Ramboy was dit helaas een eenmalig initiatief. Met de uitgave van dit avontuurlijke album luiden we meteen de zwanenzang in van dit ensemble. Jammer!"

Cyriel Pluimakers, 20 Juni 2016.