Those Dutch - how do they do it? For a country that's not in the news often, The Netherlands has quite a free jazz/improv scene (one that rivals NYC in my opinion). And just when I think I've had "enough of" free/out/avant-type jazz, along come these guys to make me reconsider, baby. Of the better-known players here are: Misha Mengelberg (piano); Tristan Honsinger (cello); Michael Moore (alto sax & clarinet); the incredible Han Bennick (drums). Unlike a lot of European (& American, for that matter) free jazz ensembles, the Dutchpersons have a uniquely quirky sense of humor (overtones of circus music, marches, tangos, ragtime, etc.) and a greater sense for conventional melody. The "Jubilee Varia" suite, even in its most "out" moments, is mightily lyrical, and the ensemble passages recall the compositional textures of Duke Ellington, Gunther Schuller, Jimmy Guiffre and Astor Piazzolla. There's a crafty yet hearty sense of swing, forward-motion and Continental elegance to these performances - the ICP Orchestra IS an orchestra, not just a bunch of guys playing at the same time. "JV" is particularly recommended to those weary of the excesses of avant/free jazz as well as those who think the avant-garde sector of jazz is nothing but squeak-blat-squawk.