Last month, New Yorkers got a rare look at some of the freshest improvisational music brewing in The Netherlands. Keyboardist (and looper) Niels Broos and drummer Jamie Peet rattled the walls (and minds) of lucky spectators fortunate to overlook the duo’s pop-up performance at Bowers & Wilkins Sound Lounge during Winter JazzFest.
Listening back to their heavy, irrepressibly vibey set gave me chills – think 1970s Herbie Hancock, updated for 2020. But unlike Herbie’s funk recordings, these duo performances are completely improvised. The only thing set beforehand is a tempo.
The Hancock comparison feels especially apt on their second composition, a tune Broos causally named on the spot as “Winter Jazz Impromptu.” It begins with a beautiful, almost harpsichord-like classical figure — then explodes into some psychedelic space-funk, followed by a bluesy Fender Rhodes-like solo. The composition evolves for 10 more minutes, taking more unexpected twists, venturing into a soundscape evocative of Jóhann Jóhannsson, but always propelled by Peet’s head-bopping beats.
Watch their full set here.
In conversation between songs, Broos talked about his short-lived yet productive experience with a close-knit artist community in Utrecht. That community — named Kytopia, after Colin Bender’s ambitious hip-hop ensemble the Kyteman Orchestra — is where Broos linked up with the classical percussionist turned beatmaker known as Binkbeats.
Broos and Peet also talk about the indie Amsterdam label currently fostering the electronic-jazz innovations from the region, which includes their own EP: Super-Sonic Jazz, aptly named in tribute to the great musical enigma Sun Ra.
The session ends with Broos giving a nod to Jameszoo, another exciting instrumental/electronic artist currently signed to Brainfeeder. Broos collaborated with him on Melkweg (Live), featuring Jameszoo’s chopped-up productions in symphonic scale, courtesy of the Metropole Orkest.
Audio Recording: Corey Goldberg
Music Mix: Jamie Peet and Niels Broos
Video: Dayglo Ventures and Relix