Michael Moore - alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Tobias Delius - tenor saxophone, clarinet
Eric Boeren - cornet
Wolter Wierbos - trombone Ernst Glerum, bass; Michael Vatcher, percussion
Lovelock is named after James Lovelock, co-discoverer of the 'Gaia' theory,
which views the Earth as a living organism; a wonderful antidote to the present
ascendancy of faith-based viewpoints of how it all happened. Bulan and Khek
Borates are two pieces found in an old book of Siamese songs. We treat them
as found objects. Facade--facades are to be found everywhere, especially in
Amsterdam. Baltimore Oriole is a beautiful tune by that master of pop, blues,
jazz, and country & western songwriting. Little French Boy is from the Casino
Royale soundtrack, which is much better than the movie. Selat Sunda is the
strait between Java and Sumatra. The music is inspired by Javanese, Balinese,
and music from the Karo Batak highlands of Sumatra. How people in such hot
places can play such fast music I can't understand. Jackdaws and Blackbirds
is an improvised portrait of the sounds in my garden. A humming melody in the
background that you only notice when not listening to the sounds in the fore-
ground: loads of jackdaws singing their descending lines ("krah, krah, krah,
krah, krah, krah, krah...") with blackbirds and other birds singing pretty melodies
on top in short bursts. Duke Ellington's 1938 recording of Braggin' in Brass
knocked out Available Jelly's brass section completely. Was there more to be done
with good old Tiger Rag? Wollic is written to feature Wolter Wierbos. Mad is a
'fake' Madagascar tune. Colima is the name of a city and state in Mexico where
I have never been. In the Secret Garden was written in a barren, concrete play area
in the middle of Amsterdam which we called the scret garden, perhaps for
motivational purposes. For me, Bilbao Song tends toward stasis. "
Despite his work with Han Bennink in Clusone and with other leading Dutch improvisers, American reeds-player Michael Moore remains too little-known. As a member of Available Jelly he plays with Tobias Delius on tenor-sax and clarinet; Eric Boeren, cornet; Wolter Wierbos, trombone; Ernst Glerum, bass; and Michael Vatcher, drums. Moore wrote most of the compositions for Bilbao Song, recorded in 2004 at Weesp, NL. The group cover an huge stylistic range, and Moore has that rare balance between Apollonian and Dionysian – and between the composed and the improvised – that enables him to draw on tradition in exploring radical new directions.
There's an intriguing South-East Asian theme in that "Bulan" and "Khek Borates" are from an old book of Siamese songs – "We treat them as found objects", comments Moore – while "Selat Sunda" is inspired by Javanese, Balinese and Sumatran music. Hoagy Carmichael's fine piece of avian anthropomorphism, "Baltimore Oriole" features the beautifully-vocalised trombone of Walter Weirbos, who's impressed so much in his recent work – it comes across as a chamber equivalent of Gil Evans' classic "Where Flamingos Fly" with Jimmy Knepper. "Little French Boy" by Burt Bacharach, from the film Casino Royale, is a treat. After touches of Dutch slapstick from Michael Vatcher and others, Moore comes on like Ellington acolyte Johnny Hodges with creamy tone and over-the-top note-bending – hokey, affecting and utterly beguiling. "Jackdaws and Blackbirds" is a gentle free Improv sound-portrait of Moore's garden, where jackdaws "krah" and blackbirds burst into melody on top. The disc concludes with the title-track, which I recall Gil Evans arranged too. Moore's unique interpretation, though slow-moving – and despite his comment that "for me, 'Bilbao Song' tends toward stasis" – is also very busy. Like the rest of this fabulous disc, it illustrates the truism that those who see furthest into the future are those who can see furthest into the past. Get it while Jelly are still Available."
By Andy Hamilton, The Wire Magazine.