Lees hier de recensie in JazzNu over ons concert op Stranger Than Paranoia, Paradox, Tilburg, 27-12-2016
Fries Project Orkest: ICE!
De Stenen Man Suite
Fries Project Orkest
Almost Human/Talking Cows 2012
The Dutch have a canny way of marrying scholarly analysis of tradition with playful, open-ended reinvention. Broad tastes are catered for with this digestible menu of 10 originals, the writing split between the rangy talents of tenorist Frans Vermeersen and pianist Robert Vermeulen. An amusing Youtube video featuring rival farmers riffs on the band name (this group has been together since 2004). One farmer hates the cd, the other plays it in the cowshed to increase the dairy yield.
Vermeerssen’s opening solo reveals an unfussy articulation, rather like Wayne Shorter’s in it service to fresh ideas above involuntary phraseology. Vermeersen’s history with the Willem Breuker Kollektief and Bik Bent Braam has buttressed his versatility. He can play fast and take bluesy riffing and triple tonguing into squalling abstraction, as on the punchy ‘A Serious Lack Of Humour’, or stubbornly peck out simple rhythmic figures. Vermeulen’s outing on the latter takes charge in a similar manner, a complete familiarity with the material is evident, and despite Yonga Sun’s frantic tambourine and Nijland’s nudging bass, the pianist rides back on the tempo between fleet runs.
‘A Stroll For Gonso’ is all Duke Ellington-Ben Webster, fluttery-breathy-twinkly, Sun suggesting Vermell Fournier’s mallets in back. Vermeerssen reminds of new fogey Bennie Wallace, sans Hawk-like arpeggio’s. During ‘Dinner Is Served,’ ‘I’m Getting Sentimental’ meets Thelonious Monk=ish angularity, Vermeerssen growling and vocalizing through the horn before a swinging bass release and prancing ambidextrous piano herald audience applause (one of two live cuts). ‘Hang Glider’ hovers cliff edge before Vermeulen finds a thermal and Sun cuts loose.
‘Mooing Around’ has a ‘Straight No Chaser’ vibe, Vermeulen comping circuitously before a sparkling solo driven by the hard-swinging rhythm section. ‘Two Guys And Beer’ smacks of a clean cut Billy Taylor anthem, but with Dutch courage. –Michael Jackson
cd Almost Human
There is an inescapable richness of sound, amidst the well-read, post-bop vocabulary employed by tenor saxophonist Frans Vermeerssen, contrasted with cool Monkish dissonant shadings from pianist Robert Vermeulen, that are immediately discernible from the opening track (Hurdless In Three) of Talking Cows’s ‘Almost Human’. Putting aside the group’s bovine reference to their rich Dutch heritage proudly tucked away in their name, they ably demonstrate an engaging proclivity for delving into an inspiring mixture of progressive jazz within a bag of ever expanding styles while utilizing surprising astuteness in their ability to deliver fresh, modern, original, improvised jazz music. – CJ Bond