Who Is in Charge
Review WHO IS IN CHARGE? New York Downtown Music Gallery july 2011 RAY ANDERSON/HAN BENNINK/FRANK MOBUS/ERNST GLERUM/PAUL VAN KEMENADE - Who Is In Charge? (Kemo 10; EEC) Featuring Ray Anderson on trombone, Paul Van Kemenade on alto sax, Frank Mobus on electric guitar, Ernst Glerum on double bass and Han Bennink on snare drum. What is odd about this disc is that I was not familiar with the leader here - saxist Paul Van Kemenade before this. Of course we do know trombone great Ray Anderson for a many years as well as longtime ICP rhythm-team members Han Bennink & Ernst Glerum. Each member of this international quintet contributed a song or two except for Han Bennink with one cover by Charlie Haden. It turns out that Netherlands-based saxist Paul Van Kemenade has been leading his own groups since 1977 and this is his tenth disc on his own Kemo label. I must thank him for sending us promos of many of the other discs of his, as I slowly check out each one and realize how diverse and interesting each of his discs really are. The title track is up first and sounds like an old-school jazz track, swinging infectiously with a hot solo from Ray Anderson. It is always great to hear Han Bennink swinging his tush off on just a snare drum and brushes and that's what he does here. 'Pet Shop' by Mr. Mobus features a melody that sounds alot like 'Black Bird' by the Beatles. It is just as endearing with sublime alto sax and gentle ghost-like guitar in the distance. Ray Anderson's 'As Yet' has great goofy theme that recalls 'Salt Peanuts' and it is just as charming. What makes this piece special is Bennink's consistently swinging, marching drum groove. The main vibe of this disc is one of a laid-back, late-night somber groove fest with tasty and often touching melodies and solos. Charlie Haden's classic 'Song for Che' was once cover by Robert Wyatt and it has one of the most haunting and sad melodies ever. This version is hushed and exquisitely well captured. The tone of Van Kemenade's sax is just gorgeous and buttery the way them old time tenor-men used to do. There is nothing avant or free about this disc but it is completely enchanting nonetheless. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery.