Short Term Memory Music

ProgJazz in optima forma

text: Storm Bakker

Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised by a pearl that hits the doormat. This was not the case with Bonsai Panda's debut album 'Short Term Memory Music', but that was because it was sent to us online. The first tones are misleadingly obedient, because after those mere 30 seconds, suddenly all hell breaks loose.

Contemporary chamber jazz noise

Dissonants, odd meter signatures, power chords and distortion guitar, free jazz drums, embellished with trombone and horn sounds, overblown reed instruments, and topped with a wild Moog solo in the hilarious closing piece "Alarmschijf". This so-called 'Contemporary chamber jazz noise' is alternately arranged and free improvised, sometimes built from an odd meter groove, sometimes from punk, like John Zorn, then exploding in grand gestures that seem to be borrowed from the great masters of the last century like Strawinsky, Messiaen or Sjostakovitsj, even eclectically borrowing quotes from that idiom.

ProgJazz in optima forma

Bonsai Panda is ProgJazz in optima forma, played by a Rotterdam based international company. If one project was affected by the lockdown in 2019 then it is this group. Special projects like the with the Rotterdam Philharmonisch Orkest at the Gergiev Festival and Jazz International Rotterdam (including an exchange with Upstream, Stadtgarten, Germany) had to be postponed. Bonsai Panda was like the exciting guest at the boring jazz dinner, we all so longed for. By postponing the concerts of Bonsai Panda, Dutch Jazz fell back in its oblivious state of mind, lacking conscious awareness and true idiosyncratic initiatives.

Ideal match

The leaders are guitarist Jelle Roozenburg and trombonist Louk Boudesteijn, but they found kindred though challenging spirits in David Kweksilber, Romain Bly and Jimmi Jo Hueting. Roozenburg and Boudesteijn form the ideal ProgJazz match. Both members of the New Jazz Orchestra are participating in some of the most impressive progressive jazz projects from The Netherlands that we heartily recommend to our readers. The experienced Louk joined forces with the likes of Paul van Kemenade, Anton Goudsmit, Onno Witte and Pierre Courbois. He is also a much sought after sideman playing with the Special Request Horns (Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Candy, Paul Weller), Odelion, Metropole Orchestra, Nueva Manteca, Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, NDR bigband, Big Bizar Habit, WDR bigband and so on. Jelle is a youngster, working with Han Bennink, Jesse Schilderink and Willem Romers.