Who are the Twenty-One 4Tet? If you have to ask, you are probably like me, Stateside, needing to fill out your knowledge of Euro-Avant jazz today. They are the nicely aggregated foursome of Luis Vicente on trumpet, John Dikeman on tenor sax, Wilbert De Joode on double bass and Onno Govaert on drums. I’ve been listening with great interest to their recent CD Live at Zaal 100 (Clean Feed 366).
It is free-wheeling dynamic avant jazz that holds its own by advancing into the future while also showing new thing roots in paying respects to Ornette, Cherry, Shepp, Ayler and other classic free jazz pioneers.
Trumpeter Luis Vicente is the more familiar artist in the quartet, at least for those of us in the US. He sounds wonderful throughout: articulate, fire-y, filled with great ideas and the chops to make them ring out.
John Dikeman is a tenor man with that big extended sound, massive slurs and swoops, harmonics and a hugely soulful sound.
Wilbert De Joode is the complete bassist, whether in arco or pizzicato mode, an anchor and a prime mover in the forward motion of the 4Tet. And Onno Govaert plays in the advanced free style with imagination and catalytic drive. He has that abruptly contrapuntal extended sound range that somehow marks many of the Euro-free percussionists, and he does it quite well. It stimulates the 4Tet to advance timbrally and pontillistically.
It’s the way the four work as a whole that makes this especially good. Their collective layering takes on many moods and colors. It marks the extended imaginations of the best collectives out there. They are one of them, as this recording evidences.
If you are on the outside track in free listening this one will satisfy you completely. It’s a definite keeper. I recommend that you hear it, by all means.