The invention of the time machine is one that we have all wondered about at one point or another. Some of us would travel to the future to see what is in store for mankind. Some of us would travel back to witness historical events, or to visit loved ones that we have lost. I believe that most of us are just looking for simpler times. Well, good news. The time machine does exist and it is affordable for anybody who is willing to travel. It's called Jazz and it can transport you to a time where things do not seem so fast and complicated. It is time travel and right now Ab Barrs is at the controls and he is taking us back to the glory days of Jazz royalty: Duke Ellington.
Anybody who is familiar with Ab Barrs already knows that he is one of the most unique reed players in the world today. Being more than familiar you might know that Ab Barrs has been at the center of Dutch Jazz and improvised music scene for nearly 30 years. This reed player hailing from Axel, Holland is best known for his involvement with Misha Mengelbergs' ICP orchestra, but since 1990 his main focus has been the Ab Barrs Trio with which he has released numerous albums and has toured worldwide, including Europe, Australia, and the U.S. The trio consisting of Ab Barrs on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Wilbert de Joode on double bass, and drummer Martin van Duynhoven has streched into a quartet with the help of long time collaborator trombonist, Joost Buis for their latest release, a superb homage to Ellington, titled Kinda Dukish.
The most refreshing idea about this tribute is that there is no piano player showing off how well they can reproduce the original music. The Ab Barrs Quartet make these songs their own, with a definitive twist, but not so twisted that it becomes something other than a true tribute. Some of the tunes on Kinda Dukish are more obscure than others but never to the point of deconstruction. One of the highlights on Kinda Dukish is the first track, "Solitude," in which Barrs indeed plays in solitude. It is a version that is slow, winding, and menacing and yes it is played note for note. It is also a song that transports you back in time and allows you to feel as if you are experiencing a true avant-garde Jazz genius for the very first time. To sum it up Kinda Dukish is kinda incredible.