Close Enough (5* Downbeat dec. ’11) (4½* All About Jazz aug.’16)
Altoist Paul van Kemenade indifferent settings with: Ernst Reijseger-Ray Anderson-Han Bennink-Cappella Pratensis-Frank Möbus-El Periquin-Ernst Glerum-Serigne Gueye-Borderhopping-Three horns and a bass. (five star rating Downbeat 2011 & one of best cd's Downbeat 2011)
4½* All About Jazz (USA) august 2016.
Close Enough from alto saxophonist Paul Van Kemenade was a Downbeat magazine “Best of 2011” and it is no small wonder why. Sub-titled “alto Paul van Kemenade in different settings,” the nine tracks range widely in both style and personnel, including a Renaissance vocal ensemble, a duo with cello, three horns and a bass as well two different more standard quintets. Through it all, Kemenade’s playing is marvelous, bringing together a sly wit and sense of humor, much intelligence and a strong sense surprise in his lines which continually do the unexpected. Close Enough in a wonderful example of pure music which exists outside of any style or instrumentation. It is to Kemenade’s credit that his musical personality is strong enough to tie it all together. Highly recommended.
5* Downbeat (USA) july 2011.
Ever heard a jazz CD open with Gregorian chant? A composition involving a Renaissance vocal ensemble, flamenco guitar, Senegalese percussion and jazz quartet also has to be a first. Further listening reveals rich variety and surprising homogeneity, driven with deep conviction from the leader, already confirming this as one of my albums of the year. Dutch saxophonist Paul van Kemenade’s expressive alto and bluesy feel betray a likely debt to David Sanborn and Maceo Parker but might also have been distilled from Bunky Green, Johnny Hodges or Amsterdam-based saxophonist Michael Moore. Clawing for precedents ends there, since this is a unique record. Contexts are ingenious, from three horns plus bass, to duo with cello, to big-shot quintet with Ray Anderson, Ernst Glerum and Han Bennink. The latter plays snare with brushes, contributing to an overall chamber-like vibe. Collaborations with Angelo Verploegen and Louk Boudesteijn suggest a regular band given the perfect tonal overlay, bassist Wiro Mahieu as a fine counterweight. The leaders’s ‘Close Enough’ and ‘It is never too late’ whiff of rhapsodic ballads and detour into peculiar polyphonic places, the former fragmenting into spacious abstraction. His alto darts and dives luxuriously, a rainbow feathered bird of paradise riding to the stratosphere. Speaking of birds, ‘Cuckoo’ with Ernst Reijseger plucking and strumming cello and guffawing like a tipsy woodchopper, is brilliant and hilarious. Despite the alto’s distinct pump in the mix, there is a great sensitivity to dynamics and a lovely hover betwixt classical, composition and improv. (Michael Jackson)
Cadence Magazine (USA) (july-aug-sept 2011).
Dutch altoist Paul van Kemenade’s Close Enough is subtitled In Different Settings and, true to his word, he performs with five different ensembles, including, on three tracks, a duo with cellist Reijseger. The opening “Fantasy Colours” has a Renaissance-style vocal ensemble plus a flamenco guitarist and a Senegalese percussionist augmenting the basic piano, bass, flugelhorn, trombone, and alto instrumentation. Those latter four instruments constitute the sole instrumentation on three tunes and a quintet of piano, bass, drums, alto and bass clarinet do so on another one. The title track is the only one that employs Van Kemenade’s regular Jazz quintet with trombonist Anderson, drummer Bennink, guitarist Mobis, and bassist Glerum. Van Kemenade provided all the compositions except two by Reijseger and one by the bass clarinetist Koltermann. Most of the expertly crafted and interesting pieces are clearly instrumental in nature, with “Fantasy Colours,” its lyrics from Psalm 147, being an obvious exception. Also, the lyrical “Close Enough” might itself serve as a fitting vehicle for a singer. The leader’s biographical material speaks of the variety of elements typically blended into his music-European improvised music, Jazz, Pop, and African, Spanish, and Classical music. The classical influence on this album is most evident in Reijseger’s “Gathering for Alto and Cello,” which sounds almost like a recital piece, albeit with a Jazz tone and inflections on alto. But for the most part, the recording’s emphasis is on Jazz with a little bit of Free playing mixed in with a lot of Hard Bop/ Post Bop improvising. All the solos are excellent, but the leader is spotlighted most often and plays extremely well. On “Close Enough” he projects the kind of quiet intensity and expressiveness typical of the late Charlie Mariano. In fact, his surefooted, emotional playing evokes Mariano again on Koterman’s “Vormarz,” which also features a well-constructed bass clarinet chorus by its composer. (David Franklin)
www.goddeau.com (B) augustus 2011.
Altsaxofonist Van Kemenade is een veteraan van de Nederlandse scene die al veel wateren doorzwommen heeft. Close Enough laat een geslaagde staalkaart horen van ’s mans opmerkelijke vermogen om ongewone bezettingen bij elkaar te brengen. Dat viel ook in het buitenland op, want zelfs het gerenommeerde jazzblad Downbeat kende het album de perfecte score van vijf sterren toe. Het grappige is dat de gemiddelde luisteraar bij het opzetten van de cd waarschijnlijk even het gevoel zal hebben dat er iets niet klopt. “Fantasy Colours” gaat immers van start met het vocale ensemble Cappella Pratensis, dat gespecialiseerd is in polyfone muziek uit de renaissance. En plots maakt het deel uit van een nonchalant swingend geheel, met een Senegalese percussionist (Serigne Gueye), een flamencogitarist (El Periquin) en Van Kemenades Three Horns And A Bass, met daarin trombonist Louk Boudesteijn, bugelspeler Angelo Verploegen en bassist Wiro Mahieu. Die combinatie van blazers, percussie en drie stemmen werkt betoverend; het resultaat is een zinnelijk samengaan van religieuze ingetogenheid en aardse groove, en een genre-overspannende tour de force die nergens artificieel klinkt. Het is om voor de hand liggende redenen ook de meest opvallende compositie op het album, omdat de rest strikt instrumentaal is en ingespeeld wordt met instrumenten die meer eigen zijn aan de jazz. Zo zijn er nog drie na elkaar geplaatste stukken van Three Horns And A Bass, die laten horen dat Van Kemenade met hen beschikt over een enorm potentieel. Geven ze nu eens, à la het World Saxophone Quartet, de indruk dat je een compleet swingorkest hoort, met bruisende, ongedwongen thema’s, dan wordt even later resoluut de blues opgezocht of pakken ze, zoals in “Cool Man, Coleman Part 1 & 2”, uit met resultaten die nu eens filmisch meeslepend klinken, en dan weer dartel dansend. Van Kemenade houdt er ook een aantal kwintetten op na, waarvan er hier twee aan bod komen. Z’n internationaal Quintet — met de Amerikaanse trombonist Ray Anderson, de Duitse gitarist Frank Möbus en de Nederlandse ritmesectie van Ernst Glerum (bas) en Han Bennink (drums) — laat in het titelnummer een verrassend laidback stukje jazz horen, met een middensectie waarin even alle regels overboord gegooid worden en plaats gemaakt wordt voor ‘kleine’ geluidjes (prachtig om te horen wat die Anderson uit z’n instrument haalt!), zonder dat het verzandt in een tegendraads potje moeilijkdoenerij. Met het Duitse kwintet Borderhopping gaat het er opnieuw iets exotischer aan toe, al zorgt de basklarinet van Eckard Koltermann voor een toets kamermuziek.
Kwadratuur.be (B) may 2011.
The constant factor altosaxophonist Van Kemenade has a nice and smooth sound and writes well structured compositions. Small bends in his altosound reveal a weakness for soul-jazz à la Cannonball Adderley without being bogged down in sympathetic posturing. One of the largest and most significant ensembles on the cd is a group with Van Kemenade’s ‘Three horns and bass’, flamenco guitarist El Periquín, Serigne Gueye, the Senegalese percussionist, pianist Rein Godefroy and Renaissance ensemble Cappella Pratensis and this remarkable collaboration sound so natural. The same high qualities in ‘Three Horns and a bass’ . His compositions seem obvious change from New Orleans to funk, Miles Davis and Mingus cool pocket big band arrangements. The tempo and mood changes natural; the harmonies and sound is wonderfully creamy; the interaction and movement of the quartet impressive. Sophisticated duets with cellist Ernst Reijseger and Van Kemenade’s international quintet with American trombonist Ray Anderson, shines with a subtle brushing Han Bennink. (Koen van Meel)
Jazznytt Magazine (Norway) Jan Granlie 04 2011.
Paul Van Kemenade, raise your hands if you know him. Just as I thought. No, not many hands to see. According to the biography he is born in 1957 in Nederland. In 1977 he started his own ensembles, and played in ensembles such as Contraband, Vaalbleek, Podium Trio, and many more. He is an alto saxophonist of the straight Kind and he did a lot of recordings in Holland since his debut in 1979. He has been playing with the Contraband, Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, African percussionists, the bass player Jamaladeen Tacuma, the pianist Aki Takase, the saxophonist David Murray, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler plus a lot of other benchmark artists from the “wooden clog country”.Those who thought that the mad jazz from the Netherlands was passé, have to think twice after listen to these two records a few times.Because with “Close Enough” and “Who is in charge” the alto saxophonist Paul Van Kemenade proves that there still is a little life left in the jazz that was ravaging Europe more than 10-15 years ago. On “Close Enough” that was recorded in December 2010 he put together a bunch of songs that deviate and variate as the blessed Per Borthen carried at his time. It all started with “Fantasy Colours” with a renaissance ensemble, a flamingo guitarist, a Senegalese percussionist and a bunch of happy people from Holland. Funny and extremely original. After that we meet the alto saxophonist together with the trombone- thug Ray Anderson, the sharp drum-maestro Han Bennink, electric guitarist Frank Möbus, bass player Ernst Glerum in an imaginative titeltrack, before we get the compositions for three horns and bass, three duets with the cellist Ernst Reijseger, before it all ends with bas-clarinetist Eckhard Koltermanns “Vormärz” in beautiful company with the pianist Stevko Busch, drum player Achim Krämer and bass player Benjamin Trawinsky. “Close Enough” is a kind of collective moment where he cooperates with different formations throughout the record. I think that the most interesting is when he in almost ten minutes, together with Ray Anderson plays over Han Benninks drums. That song is worth the price, but the other songs are not too bad either. It swings infernally in between and shows that there still is a lot going on in the Dutch jazz world. Thank you very much!
* * * * Jazzism (NL) march/april 2011.
Powerful compositions; the renaissance singers is a musical find; amazing, music that spans two continents and six centuries; Three horns and a bass sound like a pocket big band and sounds fine and exudes intimacy and tranquility. The saxophonist himself on an Introspective path. (Eddy Determeyer)
Draaiomjeoren.nl (NL ) february 2011.
Unique formations such as a combination with renaissance singers-jazz-flamenco-african percussion and a group with three horns and a bass , sound tight with well written arrangements. Great duo with cellist Ernst Reijsger. This album is a very diverse range of Van Kemenade’s musical intentions, which seem to be limitless. We hear a variety of groups, the alto saxophone of Van Kemenade in a vibrant and prominent role. Paul van Kemenade is – witness this CD – Dutch most original modern jazzaltist. (Jacques Los)
Jazzenzo.nl (NL) february 2011.
The CD with totally different ensembles excels in accuracy and diversity, with a striking and impressive result. (Rinus van der Heijden)
* * * * Parool (NL) january 2011.
The vocal ensemble Cappella Pratentis sing psalm 147:1 Lauda Jerusalem. Then there is African percussionist Serigne Gueye and then, yes, Paul van Kemenade on alto saxophone. The style of his first composition Fantasy Colors is even more hybride as a flamenco guitarist strike its strings and a nice jazz lick on a double bass and a jazzquartet are playing at the same time. In a magical way the musicians represent a new continent. Van Kemenade loves change and has an impressive musical vocabulary. He plays in his familiar nice and smooth manner in extremely different styles and instrumentations. The title track ‘Close Enough’ played by Van Kemenade’s international quintet with drummer Han Bennink, guitarist Frank Möbus, bassist Ernst Glerum and trombonist Ray Anderson reminds me of a child who learns to walk with falling and rising every time. The album is produced in a fantastic way by Van Kemenade. What a wonderful warm, intimate sound. (Maartje den Breejen)
Jazzflits (NL) january 2011.
The CD “Close Enough” is a festive musical kaleidoscope including a special opening of “Fantasy Colours”, a Van Kemenade Renaissance vocal composition – flamenco- jazz – and African percussion. The title song “Close Enough” with his international quintet is a nice track and the combination with three horns and bass are all typical Van Kemenade compositions. Inventive duo with cellist Ernst Reijseger. (Hessel Fluitman)