Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Antoine Claeys Quintet - Antwerp, 7/10/2003

Antoine Claeys - g
Koen Nys - as, ts
Jef Neve - organ, fender
Christope Dervisscher - b
Toon Van Dionant - d

I went to this concert, again in the Hopper café, mainly to see what Jef would do on electric keyboards. He seems to have quite a collection: a grand piano and a Hammond B-3, as well as the two keyboards on display here and maybe others I don't know about.

I was sitting in an acoustically poor corner for most of the concert, so the instruments projected poorly (especially the saxophone) and the bass and keyboards sounded mushy. When I moved to the centre of the room for a while, everything sounded much better.

The music itself alternated between straight-ahead tunes and boogaloos. The boogaloos were fun but lacked a bit of that fundamental greasiness and bar-pleasing showboating. Drummer Toon Van Dionant was new to me and did a good job throughout, however. As did Jef, mixing fast runs with rhythmic stabs and the histrionic exclamations so adored by organists.

My only reference point for such music is a very fun Lou Donaldson concert (with organist Dr. Lonnie Smith) I saw a couple years ago, in which Donaldson managed to transform a hip Brussels café into a hot and humid swamp dive. From these two concerts, I'm led to wonder why organists seem to favour the screaming high register so much, when there are so many interesting sounds lower down?

I'm not much of a jazz guitar fan, so I didn't really get into Claeys's linear, fairly traditional solos, apart from a more percussive one on the second boogaloo played. Koen Nys was another new name for me, who seemed more at ease on alto than on tenor. I also got the impression that he would be more at ease in a different context.