"After a few wild and wonderful trips to the outer reaches of hardcore EAI with MIMEO and The Flirts, pianist Cor Fuhler (heard here also on clavinet and organ) makes a solid pitch for the mainstream of Dutch modern jazz with Corkestra, eleven splendid and concise tracks tailor-made to corner the market in the Netherlands for experimental improvised music that also swings hard and isn't afraid to show its affection for Monk, Ellington and Stravinsky, as filtered through Misha Mengelberg, Fuhler's erstwhile teacher (who continues to tower over the Dutch improv scene – though "tower" is the wrong word, as you'll know if you've ever seen Mengelberg: "hunch" might be more appropriate). The line-up is impressive and Fuhler's cunning arrangements exploit it to the full, with distinctive solo and ensemble features for all involved: Ab Baars and Toby Delius (tenor saxes and clarinets), Anne La Berge (flutes), Andy Moor (guitar), Wilbert de Joode (bass), Tony Buck and Michael Vatcher (percussion) and Nora Mulder on cymbalom (making comparisons with Stravinsky's "Ragtime" and "Renard" inevitable).
The sequencing of the music is equally thoughtful and impressive; the inane plodding theme of "Green Peppers" (pure Misha) is all the more effective sandwiched between more overtly experimental cuts like "Triangle Sun" and the opening of "Zwerfduin" (the latter half of which, with its driving bass riffs and flashing wind arpeggios clearly reveals the ancestry of Stravinsky's "Sacre"). Elsewhere, on "Lollipops / Woestijntrol" Fuhler shows that the wacky Monky stuff can cohabit perfectly well with spare, wind arrangements, while "Dromedaris" is a kind of Dutch take on Naked City, jumpcutting from leftfield klezmer to sleazy march music. Fuhler's organ sounds so awful it's magnificent, especially on the penultimate "Rockpool", which locks his faux-raï noodling into an eternally cycling chord sequence of crashing root-position banality that Michael Nyman would be proud of. Fortunately for the sanity of all concerned, proceedings close on a more sedate note with the introspective ostinati of "Water Supply". All in all, a superbly varied and ridiculously creative piece of work, strongly recommended".
Pianist/keyboardist Cor Fuhler is one of Holland’s most intriguing musicians. As a pianist, he prepares his instrument in an effort to make it sound like anything other than a traditional piano. But he also has a keyboard menagerie that creates sounds as alien as any ever heard. And the Corkestra, nine members strong, make music equally as alien. Fuhler has assembled an ensemble of open-eared musicians from different genres: jazz (saxophonists Ab Baars and Tobias Delius, bassist Wilbert de Joode, drummers Michael Vatcher and Tony Buck), rock (guitarist Andy Moor), classical (flutist Anne La Berge) and the ringer, Nora Mulder on cymbalon, a Hungarian stringed instrument akin to a dulcimer. Mulder is an inspired choice and her instrument, along with Fuhler’s clavinet and organ, are a big reason for this music’s unique textures and this ensemble’s individual sound.
The program alternates between warped, almost jaunty pieces (“Zand I”, “Green Peppers”) and highly abstract numbers (“Triangle Sun”, “Cosinus”). Sometimes this juxtaposition appears within a single track. “Lollipops/Woestijntrol” starts with pointillist improvisation before an arpeggiated figure appears on cymbalon and guitar and over which a melody shared by flute and clarinets emerges. The disc reaches a grand climax of sorts on “Rockpool” with a swelling of instruments on a chord progression that sounds as if it was ripped off from some Krautrock record. It keeps rising as Fuhler’s cheesy organ noodles atop in triumph among cymbal crashes and braying horns. It will either bring a smile or a grimace to the listener’s face but given this is one of the finest Dutch recordings of recent years, it will probably be the former.
—Robert Iannapollo, All About Jazz
released September 17, 2013
Cor Fuhler -organ, clavinet, piano
Ab Baars - tenorsax, clarinet
Tobias Delius - tenorsax, clarinet
Anne La Berge - flutes
Andy Moor - electric guitar
Nora Mulder - cymbalom
Wilbert de Joode - double bass
Tony Buck - percussion
Michael Vatcher - percussion, singing saw, hammer dulcimer
All compositions Cor Fuhler (Buma/Stemra)
Recording: Dick Lucas, BIMhuis Amsterdam, March 20 + 21, 2004
Coverart: Petra Dolleman
Produced by Cor Fuhler and Dick Lucas
all rights reserved