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Michael Moore

The Amsterdam-based American improviser is an ICP Orchestra mainstay and one of our most insightful reed players, spending more time on pithy queries than boisterous declamation. This rare six-night run connects him to his NYC cohorts, and from the whistle-along melodies of the Holocene Trio (accordion & cello) to the evening of tunes by his long-standing collective, Available Jelly, it should offer a thorough portrait. Ensembles change each night. I’m looking forward to finding out what Moore’s clarinet sounds line in cahoots with Mary Halvorson’s guitar and Gerald Cleaver’s drums.

July 23-28, 8 & 10 p.m., 2013

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VOICE CHOICES ARCHIVES Where To

Instant Composer’s Pool Orchestra

This legendary, 10-piece Dutch jazz ensemble revels in absurdist humor and reliably befuddles even their most ardent followers. Co-led by pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink, the ICP Orchestra folds an immense repertoire of original tunes and standards (Monk, etc.) into freewheeling improvisations that start and stop on the proverbial dime. Bracing, experimental fun.

Thu., March 31, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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CULTURE ARCHIVES Living MUSIC ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES

The Deep Dark Secret and Mix-and-Match of the Dutch Avant-Garde

Halfway through the ICP Orchestra’s Aan & Uit, the 10-piece ensemble surges into “Barbaric,” a swanky Hoagy Carmichael number he recorded with the Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang in 1929, and suddenly you get a fix on the ICP and maybe the entire Dutch avant-garde. Try to imagine free jazz emerging from 1920s Chicago speakeasies and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and you’ve got an idea of the mix-and-match. Misha Mengelberg, the pianist who wrote most of the originals and presumably arranged “Barbaric,” delights in finding dark corners in what used to be called light music. “ICP” originally stood for Instant Composer’s Pool, but that was back in the ’60s; there are still moments of what probably only sounds like scratch improv, but anyone hoping for either straight-ahead blowing or madcap, devilishly complex orchestral passages doesn’t have long to wait. Ab Baars’s dark, mewling tenor is prominently featured, and Mary Oliver’s violin adds purr. But the real treat is hearing Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink coming together to practice their rhythmic and harmonic geometry. There are plenty of Monk-influenced pianists, even if few are as individualist as Mengelberg. But can you name another drummer?


The ICP Orchestra play Tonic October 24.