Hollywood OK Pieces

COMPOSERS: Guus Janssen
LABELS: Geestgronden
PERFORMER: Peter van Bergen (clarinet); Vincent Chancey (French horn); Michael Rabinovitch (bassoon); Guus Janssen (piano); Ernst Glerum (bass); Wim Janssen (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: GGCD 08

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The Dutch pianist Guus Janssen has never been one to stick to conventional duty, although thus far he’s kept to solo and trio formats for most of his discs. So Hollywood OK Pieces is a lively departure. Janssen has a front line of clarinet, French horn and bassoon, at least two of which are about as fashionable in jazz as the banjo, and he makes the group sound all the more extraordinary by having them perform as if they were trumpets and saxophones – no woodsy textures or palm-court gentility here.

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Janssen is such a compelling pianist that in some ways it’s a dilution to have him settled into a sextet: there are times when you wish the horn players would step off the stage and let him have at it (it’s a live recording). But his old team of Ernst Glerum (bass) and Wim Janssen (drums) is on hand, too, and the horn players make merry out front, especially the fine Michael Rabinovitch on bassoon. There’s a homage here, too: an original called ‘Konitzology’.