TO Jazz Review: Ig Henneman Sextet, June 24, The Music Gallery

The Ig Henneman Sextet is, as the name suggests, a six piece band led by Dutch viola player and composer Ig Henneman. The band’s performance at The Music Gallery this past Sunday night offered up some interesting, unique music. Henneman’s compositions from their latest, Cut A Caper, were inspired by (or “inspired on,” as Henneman said at one point, noting that one of her bandmates had corrected her on that ) various sources, including Gillian Welch, a haiku, “dutch golden hits,” and other things. I appreciate the fact that she takes inspiration from non musical sources to inspire her pieces. I also appreciate the fact that the piece inspired by Welch (of whom Henneman admitted to being a great admirer) at first sounded nothing like her but as it went on, it somehow brought her to mind while still sounding wholly original.

The sextet (which features a couple of Canadians) makes music that is often improvisational in nature and would definitely fall under the umbrella of experimental or avant-garde jazz. The band, a unique configuration involving horns, viola, bass, and piano, are all impressive players. For one tune, the trumpet player was making some wonderfully weird breath noises through his horn. There were several nice moments like that throughout the set. At one point, the high pitched horn noises had some audience members holding their ears. I could be a smartass and mock them for it but truth is I’ve done the same at Mogwai shows.

I tend to listen to a lot of music that could be classified as avant-garde or experimental, but usually still falling within the context of the rock genre. This was, not surprisingly, a kindred spirit to that. It definitely had the same sort of vibe as some of the more improvisational/noisy bands I’ve seen (Acid Mothers Temple, Einsturzende Neubauten) but coming at it from a different angle. But unlike Neubauten, there weren’t any power tools incorporated into the performance. It could be something to consider though …

Posted on by Paul in Toronto Jazz Festival