1974 from left: Leo Cuypers, Willem Breuker, Herman de Wit, Bob Driessen, Willem van Manen, drums: Rob Verdurmen, Bernard Hunnekink, Ronald Snijders, Jan Wolff . photo Igno Cuypers
1977 “to the planes”. from left: Willem Breuker, Arjen Gorter, Maarten van Norden, Rob Verdurmen, Leo Cuypers, Boy Raaymakers, Bernard Hunnekink, Willem van Manen, Bob Driessen, Jan Wolff.
1984 from left: Willem Breuker, André Goudbeek, Peter Barkema, Rob Verdurmen, Andy Altenfelder, Arjen Gorter, Boy Raaymakers, Cris Abelen, hanging: Henk de Jonge, Bernard Hunnekink. photo Vincent Mentzel
1988 Portland U.S.A. from left: Willem Breuker, André Goudbeek, Alex Coke, Andy Altenfelder, Rob Verdurmen, Boy Raaymakers, Joop Buis, Bernard Hunnekink. photo René Eckhart
1992 from left: Boy Raaymakers, Henk de Jonge, Andy Altenfelder, André Goudbeek, Bernard Hunnekink, Willem Breuker, Gregg Moore, Rob Verdurmen, Peter Barkema, Arjen Gorter. photo René Eckhart
1998 airport Amsterdam. from left: Andy Altenfelder, Peter Barkema, Boy Raaymakers, Rob Verdurmen, Henk de Jonge, Bernard Hunnekink, Arjen Gorter, Willem Breuker, Lorre Trytten, Alex Coke, Nico Nijholt.
2004 in China. from left: Arjen Gorter, Maarten van Norden, Hermine Deurloo, Andy Altenfelder, Boy Raaymakers, Andy Bruce, Wllem Breuker, Bernard Hunnekink, Henk de Jonge, Rob Verdurmen.
2009 from left: Willem Breuker, Hermine Deurloo, Henk de Jonge, Maarten van Norden, Bernard Hunnekink, Rob Verdurmen, Andy Bruce, Frans Vermeerssen, Arjen Gorter, Andy Altenfelder, Georges Pancras. photo Pieter Boersma
2017 CD Box – Out of the box
84 page book in Dutch and English, containing photographs, anecdotes, recording details.
Produced and compiled by Bernard Hunnekink and Arjen Gorter for BVHAAST and the Willem Breuker Foundation
Remastered by Paul Pouwer, Amsterdam
CD 10/11 recorded live by Guido Nieuwdorp, edited and mixed by Guido Nieuwdorp, Henk de Jonge, Arjen Gorter and Bernard Hunnekink
Text contributions and translations by Frank van Herk
Design by Emma Fischer
‘Willem Breuker Kollektief stalwarts Arjen Gorter and Bernard Hunnekink have taken care of Breuker’s musical legacy and have scrupulously compiled an anthology from this huge body of work which is beyond compare. They are absolutely right in releasing the embodiment of their quest at this moment: something as wonderful as this may not be postponed.’ (Jazz Nu)
‘The CDs come accompanied with a book containing lots of visual material, personal stories about Breuker, historical and musical interpretations, plus extensive information and documentation for all of the tracks. The CDs have all been remastered, making the recordings sound clear, fresh and well-defined. In all there is some four hours of previously unreleased music. The other tracks have found their way into the discography.’ (Het Parool)
‘CDs 8 and 9 contain the music for the silent film Faust, made by the German director Friedrich Murnau in 1926. In 2003 the Paris Cité de la Musique commissioned Breuker to compose a score in which there were to be no improvised parts.’ (Het Parool)
‘The great rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on CD 5 (Strings) takes up a little over 15 minutes: strongly orchestrated, as transparent as can be, and without the symphonic hullabaloo that so often seems to come with the work. The Willem Breuker Kollektief stays very close to George Gershwin’s intentions and makes use of the original score.’ (Jazz Nu)
Read the complete review at the Jazz Nu website
CadenCe Magazine | Oct nov dec 2017 | Page 107 – 108
Dutch composer / group leader / reed player Willem Breuker was in it for the long haul. Perhaps it didn’t seem that way when, in the late 1960s he was considered a firebrand and one of the players who was going to bring down the world of jazz. Those types never hang around very long. In 1967, pianist / composer Misha Mengelberg, percussionist extraordinaire Han Bennink and Breuker formed Instant Composer’s Pool (I.C.P.) and set about undermining traditional concert venues, releasing self-produced recordings and generally doing what they wanted to do. But with three strong-minded personalities such as these, the ties eventually soured over musical disagreements. Mengelberg and Bennink continued on with I.C.P. and Breuker (who was far more concerned with composition) formed his own label (BVHaast) and group, (The Willem Breuker Kollektief). The Kollektief’s name first appeared on the B side of a 1974 LP Twenty Minutes In The Life Of Bill Moons with a scrappy, anarchic performance of a suite, “De Achterlijke Klokkenmaker” (The Simple-Minded Clockmaker).
The Kollektief fell together fairly quickly and by its conclusion in 2012 it still counted four players who had been there from the beginning: trombonist Bernard Hunnekink, bassist Arjen Gorter, drummer Rob Verdurmen and saxophonist Maarten Van Norden. Other long-term members included pianist Henk De Jonge (from 1980) and trumpeters Andy Altenfelder (from 1981) and Boy Raaijmakers (1975-2004). The Kollektief had its highs and lows. Early concerts were energetic, rowdy but as the band developed they got very tight and seemed a perfect mixture of precision and freedom. Their concerts were laced with humor and slapstick. Breuker kept feeding them compositions: his own, unique arrangements of jazz and pop standards and classical pieces. However, as the 90s came, the compositions became more highly arranged and the humor became more forced (almost as if they did it because it was expected). The musicianship was still at a high level (Breuker brought in some excellent new players, including saxophonist Alex Coke, trombonist Nico Nijholt and violinist Lorre Lynn Trytten) but that spontaneous spark that this band imbued in its live performances seem to be missing. But ca. 2000, with the addition of some new younger players (including trombonist Andy Bruce and saxophonist / harmonica player Hermine Derloo and trumpeter George Pancras)) the group seemed to nd its form again. This later edition of the Kollektief became one of its nest and it lasted for over ten years, until the band came to its logical conclusion in 2012.
All of this history (excepting the more tedious moments) is captured in a new retrospective 11 CD boxed set, Out Of The Box . It highlights Breuker and his band, as well as his lm music, larger assemblages and collaborations. The set was put together by Arjen Gorter and Bernard Hunnekink, both of whom saw and heard it all. Some of the music has been previously available on recordings, others are previously unreleased. The recordings have been remastered and the sound is superb throughout.
The discs are ordered conceptually. Big Chunks is a cherry picked selection of mostly longer performances (only 2 pieces are less than 9 minutes) by various editions of the Kollektief and it shows them in a favorable light. “New Pillars In The Field Of Art”, a live concert favorite, is heard in a stellar rendition from 1993. Breuker’s homage to Duke Ellington “Duke Edward” is a wonderful take on the Jungle Band of the 20s. Songs And More is a mish-mash collection of originals and arrangements, vocal and instrumental. It includes two of Breuker’s best arrangements of other’s pieces: a reworking of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” and a kaleidoscopic 12 minute epic version of Cole Porter’s “Night And Day”. Plays And Movies is the most diverse disc of the set with various pieces done for the theatre and lm. It has the widest span of dates, from 1970 to 1998 and it re ects the widest range of music.
But it’s also unmistakably music by Willem Breuker. Strings is surprisingly one of the most successful discs in the set. It contains “Spanish Wells”, a piece that sounds like a homage to one of Breuker’s musical “heroes”, Ennio Morricone. The liners note that its inspiration comes from where it was composed, the island of Spanish Wells in the Bahamas, where Bruker was vacationing. But it sounds like it could accompany a western. It also contains a ve part suite “Zaanse Pegels”, composed to celebrate an award Breuker received from the Zaanse Foundation. In 2003, Breuker was commissioned to write the music for a restored version of F. W. Murnau’s 1926 silent classic Faust. It’s atypical music for a silent lm but entirely appropriate in that a) it’s typical Breuker music and b) it re ects the Weimar zeitgeist under which the movie was made and that always attracted Breuker. He has re-arranged many Kurt Weill pieces as well. The music for Faust has never been released on disc but is now featured here in its entirety on two discs and it’s listenable as a through-composed piece separate from the movie. Two excellent concerts are preserved: Umea, 1978, (Sweden) is a wonderful snapshot of the early Kollektief (with pianist Leo Cuypers and trombonist Willem van Manen) in its prime. Angouleme 1980, is another rousing set from two years later. It consists of edited highlights of the concert but it plays well and it was a good energy concert. The nal two discs of the set are Happy End I & II. Before his passing in 2010, Breuker stipulated the that the group members could use the name Willem Breuker Kollektief until 2012 when it was to be retired. The group (along with singers Loes Luca and Peter Balhuis) spent that nal year touring a tribute to Breuker, pulling classics out of the book including “Streaming” and “Waddenzee” (which go back to 1976), “Bob’s Gallery”, “To Remain”. I caught the American leg of the tour (without the singers) and was surprised at how non- nostalgic the performance was. They played with such energy and enthusiasm.
The performances preserved on these discs are from the last two concerts by the Kollektief (December, 2012) and it still retains that energy and enthusiasm.
Out Of The Box is well-packaged, comes with a nice, spiral bound book with essays, pictures and discographical information. As a summation of Breuker’s period from 1974 onwards it lls the bill nicely. Is there anything worthwhile left out? Of course… a lot… Breuker was quite proli c and high points could probably extend the set to twice its length. But what is here are superb examples of Breuker’s music and his various editions of the Kollektief.