Chicago's Atavistic Records are reissuing some of the rarest avant-jazz records of the 70s & 80s that ever were, some recorded in America but received only minimal distribution back when (like Joe McPhee's 70s records) and those from Europe (the "Willi The Pig" album by the Irene Schweizer-John Tchicai Group: only 500 LPs pressed!). Now, they've made this gem available again ('twas recorded in 1981) to music lovers that may not know (yet) how sorely it is needed to bring us-all good times. Cuypers & co. are of the Dutch "school" of jazz/improv maniacs-guys that draw on American free jazz for inspiration but don't neglect the pre-free or the pre-bop periods that came before. Further, they infuse it with a very Dutch sensibility - these guys aren't trying to crash an American party, they're making one of their own.
In brief, these guys are as likely to draw upon Kurt Weill, Stephan Wolpe and circus music as they are Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor for inspiration, and they do it with an animated sense of near-gonzo humor. I've seen drummer Han Bennink perform: he's unto a cross between Sunny Murray and Pee Wee Herman. Leading his own band, reedperson Willem Breuker & his Kollectiv combine Carla Bley, Raymond Scott and The Three Stooges. Which is not to say the music without the visual element-that's just the icing on the gravy. HEAVY DAYS... presents themes cheery (a busted-up "Happy Days Are Here Again") and loaded with elegant angst ("Blue Tango") with Daffy Duck drive and Charles Mingus zeal. Arjen Gorter's bass you can feel in your gut, and Cuypers' piano is as luminously lyrical as McCoy Tyner and Myra Melford (and Vince Guaraldi!) at their best without sounding like either while having the drive of Don Pullen. And yes, swing IS the thing. They balance passion with irreverence throughout-a good time is assured for those who can appreciate both Henry Threadgill and The Marx Brothers (or Ernie Kovacs) and can't imagine them not being able to perform together.