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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Dick de Graaf

Moving Target

The Dick de Graaf Quartet:

Soundroots Records SR02.

 

 


1.Cascade [6:59]
2. A touch of Bela [5:37]
3. Deka deka [6:17]
4. Stolen dream [4:23]
5. Climate Change [4:33]
6. Why Birds Always Sing [5:59]
7. Moving Target [5:32]
8. Handicap [4:28]
9. Somsok Orkim Saleb II [5:21]
10. Démasqué [7:44].
Total time: [56:53]

All compositions by Dick de Graaf.
The Dick de Graaf Quartet:
Dick de Graaf: Tenor & soprano Sax
Jeroen van Vliet: Piano & Fender Rhodes
Guus Bakker: Acoustic & Electric Bass
Pascal Vermeer: Drums.
Recorded and Mixed at Tafelberg Studio, Tilburg, Netherlands on October 19th and 20th and November 9th, 2006.


Dick de Graaf is a great sax player who is proof, if proof were needed, that Europe is the home of great jazz musicians and that the USA is not the only country where they are found. A great shame then that people such as he are not better known. On this disc are some great tunes all penned by him and played with consummate ease and panache by him and his quartet. Deka Deka is a new arrangement of Second Trying, the opening tune on HOT, HAZY AND HUMID (Limetree Records, 1986), his first recording as bandleader, while Cascade, Climate Change and Démasqué were written only in 2006. A Touch of Bela, Handiclap, Somsok Orkim Saleb II, Stolen Dream and Why Birds Always Sing are part of a larger project that he was commissioned to write by Robert Maloschik for Radio Magyar in Budapest and are inspired by piano and choral works by bela Bartok. The Moving Target of the album title is a new arrangement of a tune Dick de Graaf wrote in 1996 and that encapsulates his take on life "Moving targets are harder to hit". The album as a whole is mostly fast paced, very listenable and extremely enjoyable. Stolen Dream is a beautiful tune in ballad style with some gorgeous solos from pianist Jeroen van Vliet and bassist Guus Bakker as well as de Graaf himself and though I couldn’t readily discern the Bartokian influence I am grateful for it if it inspires such super jazz. Climate Change is another slower paced tune with some really fancy work from Guus Bakker’s electric bass. Why Birds Always Sing, another Bartok inspired song is more easily recognised as coming to us via the great Hungarian composer and wouldn’t it be great if it led to those listeners who don’t know him to explore Bartok’s work which is so fantastically rewarding. I’ve only picked a few tracks to concentrate on but all are really great tunes and demonstrate de Graaf’s highly individual compositional talents. A highly recommended disc. As I recently said of another jazz disc I reviewed by Gregg August, whose disc is also all original compositions, it would be nice to hear Dick de Graaf tackle some standards, which no doubt he has in the past so I’m off to seek them out!


Steve Arloff

 



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