Once upon a time in a country not far from here, in a small town, there was a jazz club. And it was in the early spring of 2015 that a small delegation from that club came to visit me and asked if I wanted to give a concert with them. And since I am not very keen on playing jazz and had no jazz band on the run at all, the answer was immediately: “YES.” I received a tiny budget and a date (November 14, 2015) and began to think about an ad hoc band with a repertoire that we could use to freshen up a lot.
A first member of the ensemble was very obvious: Angelo Verploegen, trumpet player, and for me a favorite on flugelhorn. Angelo, anyway one of the best trumpeters in the Netherlands and beyond. is the one with whom I have built up the longest musical cooperation, or in other words, the one who has been doing it for over 35 years with me and my music. Angelo is a traditional player who is at home in many markets, with a beautiful, full tone. In addition to Angelo, I wanted a second blazer, preferably on saxophone. I found that in the person of Jan Menu. Gifted saxophonist, baritone saxophone specialist and one of the most creative musicians I know. Together with Angelo a world couple where you as a composer can lick your fingers.
I wanted a fourth instrument in the ensemble and I thought of an accordion. An unusual choice for such an occupation, and a remarkable choice for someone who hated accordion, because many pianists think they can play accordion, probably because it also has a keyboard. I had already heard good stories about Rik Cornelissen. I found him on the internet and listened to his game. Fantastic, almost pianistic and that was a funny side effect. I sent a message to Rik and the rest can be guessed. So a successful internet date.
For the repertoire I collected all kinds of pieces of music, let’s say a good selection of 500 years of music history; from Renaissance to baroque, classical, contemporary, jazz and pop and some new work of their own. Not too complicated to play, always worthy to improvise and inspiring enough for the quartet members to take their course. We prepared the concert with a 2hour rehearsal and went on stage “flying”.
It was an evening to remember, both for the public and for players. A quartet was born.
At a good time I got in touch with Jared and Jonas Sacks (father and son) through Cyriel Pluimakers. They offered to make the ensemble baptized New World Quartet (NWQ) an “album” exclusively for NativeDSD / Just Listen Records, with the option of recording in MCO1, the hall with the most beautiful acoustics in the Netherlands. The offer was exactly what the quartet needed to get out of its shell and for me the starting shot to collect new work, a new collection of “dances”. Evolutionary Tango is the most recent work written especially for the NWQ. In a period of less than 11 minutes the tango comes along in many shapes including an irregular in 7quartz size. It is a feature for all quartet members; all registers are pulled open and a truly modern tango pallet is revealed.
Civilization Suite is no less than five pieces of music that are connected to each other, matched or complemented in one way or another. Two Renaissance songs marked by three energetic contemporary works. Respectively in 4, 3, 5, 4 and 7 quartz sizes, in all possible Eastern and Western European folk dances. The way this suite is put together is a textbook example of how the concert of November 14, 2015 was designed. Galanthus Nivalis is the second and more romantic part of this album. Originally a sonata from 2015 written for Noortje Braat and Jakob Klaasse (voice, violin and piano), specially adapted for the NWQ in 2019. The slow dance piece gets new contours with the other lineup. Moments of improvisation are built in, so that things take on a completely different twist. It makes the piece exciting, lively and challenging. The basis for the sonata is the poem “the Dawn” by the Flemish writer Guido Gezelle. The five parts illuminate the course of dawn in the various stages from dark to light, from awakening to revelation through the opening of the snowdrop, the delicate white flower that announces the end of winter. All in all a musical story that sounds lyrical, threatening again. Bittersweet as life, the dance for existence.
Jared Sacks has once again delivered a fantastic performance by optimally capturing the NWQ, the music and acoustics for an ultimate listening pleasure. I wish you a lot of pleasure and invite you to take a dance.
Enjoy listening and dancing!
-Egon Kracht, artistic leader