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New Dutch Swing is a panoramic history of two generations of improvisers and composers and a collective portrait of a musical world both strange and familiar. Combining oral history with critical evaluations of recordings and reconstructions of key events, Kevin Whitehead documents a sort of alternative universe for jazz, where humor counts for more than dead seriousness; where the boundaries between music and theater blur; where a unique blend of cultural influences, from Surinamese to South African, find their way into the mix; and where pranksters Charles Ives and Thelonious Monk are major influences, along with the minimalism of Terry Riley and Holland's Louis Andreissen (whose own boogie-woogie roots are bared).
Drawing on the testimony of non-Hollanders as diverse as Steve Lacy, Butch Morris, Evan Parker, John Tchicai, and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as on the recollections of dozens of Dutch musicians, including Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, Willem Breuker, Louis Andriessen, and Maarten Altena, Whitehead steps back to track the development of conducted improvising, game pieces, portable electronic instruments, and the birth of the European free jazz scene in the 1960s.
For music fans who have enjoyed the records and concerts of such artists as the ICP Orchestra, the Willem Breuker Kollektief, and the Clusone Trio as well as for those for whom they are unfamiliar, New Dutch Swing presents a unique and engaging exploration of one of contemporary jazz's most vital scenes.