Carel Alphenaar presenteert CD

Recensie in Volkskrant/Review in Volkskrant

Recensie in Jazzism/Review in Jazzism

GENE CARL BAND - Pink Chinese Restaurants (X-OR 021; Netherlands) Released 2012. Featuring Gene Carl on piano, synth & songs, Wiek Hijmans on electric guitar, Jeffrey Bruinsma on violin, Michael Vatcher on drums & percussion and Ken Gould on voice. The Gene Carl Band was formed in 1997 to perform a cantata called “Pink Chinese Restaurants” and has been involved with large-scale dance/theatre pieces. The band uses a varying number of players and always involves a vocalist. For this work, Mr. Carl composed the music, used a five piece band which includes vocalist Ken Gould. The words were written by NYC-based artist & sound-poet Marshall Reese, someone I’ve met at gigs in NY for many years but knew little about. It turns out that Gene Carl also has a solo disc out on the same X-OR label playing piano, synthesizers and tapes. It also turns out that the guitarist here, Wiek Hijmans, is known as pioneer of experimental guitar. Who knew?!? I was even more intrigued to hear this disc.

  Starting with “Slierten” which means “Slithers”, I didn’t know what to really expect. This piece features some sly, guitar and violin interplay and great drumming by the irrepressible Michael Vatcher. Is this jazz/rock or perhaps new wave? Hmmmm, somewhere in between. A most infectious groove, nonetheless. The “Pink Chinese Restaurants” cantata features minimal vocals are quietly operatic/Broadway-like yet still somehow charming. The lyrics sound like they were cut=ups from Chinese menus with unexpected twists, rather dada-like. The music is a unique blend of choppy, repeated phrases, oddly complex in part.         

There is a section midway through this piece where the quintet erupts with what sound like a completely free detour, the guitar solo is breath-taking. This closes with a couple of bonus tracks with poems written by Ulises Carrion. The music doesn’t quite sound like anyone else yet remains most charming throughout. Violinist Jeffrey Bruinsma sounds especially lyrical yet engaging on the last piece. I wonder whatever happened to him? It seems strange that unknown gems like this seem to disappear until someone decides to shine a light on their existence. I believe that this label, X-OR is long gone so grab this before it vanishes. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG              

CD $15   

REVIEW “PINK CHINESE RESTAURANTS” IN Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, NY  October 27, 2017  New York