The Jungle Warriors plus special guests

 


Jan Akkerman
Trijntje Oosterhuis
LIVE, Bimhuis, Amsterdam
21 February 2001

San Kuiper – acoustic & electric guitar
Bart Suen (??) – alto saxophone
Marcel Schimscheimer – bass
Jasper Le Clercq – Violin
Mousse Pathe M’Baye – Percussion
(Sabar, Tania, Djembe)
Amadou Pape Seck – Percussion
(Sabat, Waterdrum, Djembe)
Roy Dackus – Drums

Jan Akkerman J.A. Willem Heins
Signature’ electric guitar
Trijntje Oosterhuis - Vocals

1st set (70 min.):
Bardot
Fast Dance
In the Pocket
The Bengali Boat Song
Highlife
2nd set (60 min.):
Higher Ground
Summertime
Streetwalker
Hot Club de France
(D Jan Go-logy /Piétons)
Senegalese Childsong
 


The Jungle Warriors is a fusion-formation led by guitarist Jan Kuiper, with whom Jan A. had worked before on the occasion of the ‘Five Great Guitars’-tour last year. They perform every 3rd Wednesday a gig at the Bimhuis, which is located in the heart of Amsterdam, just opposite to the ‘Zuiderkerk’ where Jan A. was born in December 1946. Every session features some special guests, and since it was announced that Jan would be one of the special guests on this occasion, I was already very curious about how this would turn out. The music of the ‘Warriors’ can be described as a crossover between Fusion and World Music, with a large dose of improvisation. I don’t label it as ‘world music’ just because of the two Senegalese percussionists, but as there is also a violinist, the combination of both European and African traditional music makes it a more than logical affair in this case.

So, the three of us, Bas, Kees and me (Wouter), were quite excited in advance of what to expect. Bas even saw Jan playing a couple of strains from Skydancer during the sound check!

The gig started at 9.15 PM with a slow and swirling starter, called ‘Bardot’. Starting with a musical conversation between the two percussion-players, Jan played along after a couple of minutes with his rhythmic chords and marvellous backing. The whole atmosphere reminded me of something Jan did before on the very underrated ‘Prism’- album that he recorded with Tony Scott in 1977, and during the era of the jazzy and ‘saxy’ Pleasure Point band in late 1981… the building-up of this piece was a kind of searching towards a familiar theme, which featured some solos. The ending to this piece was as quiet as the beginning.

After this surprising opener, the next song ‘Fast Dance’ was indeed a lot faster and the musicians seem to enjoy it a lot, as it was also the first time that this composition was played live. While guitarist Jan Kuiper did some guitarsynths -like colouring of sounds, Jan played a trademark melodic solo in a way only he could do it.

The highlight of the first set was ‘The Bengali Boat Song’. Jan Kuiper explained in advance to the audience that he recently saw a performance by an Indian guitarist that had inspired him to write this song, utilizing some Indian influences in his (acoustic) guitar playing. The first couple of minutes of this composition featured the two guitarists in a magnificent musical dialogue, both with acoustic and electric guitars. Jan had also brought along with him his Lowden acoustic, but this instrument remained in the case during the entire performance.

During the last song of the first set, an African dancer came on stage for some traditional African dancing, which was quite a nice addition to the setting.
After a 15-minute break, the band came back on stage and they introduced Dutch female singer Trijntje Oosterhuis. Oosterhuis made a name with her brother Tjeerd in the formation Total Touch and she recently did a flashback tour featuring the music of Stevie Wonder. Also, she was invited by jazz-pianist Michiel Borstlap to perform with him as well in his group (which occasionally also features Jimmy Haslip on bass).

For this gig, there was only a ‘mystery guest on vocals who concentrates herself more on jazz these days’ announcement, but when she came on stage, the audience was quite surprising that it was her.

They performed the Stevie Wonder-classic ‘Higher Ground’, as well as the landmark ‘Summertime’, for which Jan A. played an introduction together with Trijntje. ‘Summertime’ was not played in the Brainbox-version, but more ‘a-la-Django’. After this song, Trijntje thanked the band for the invitation and left the stage.

Now it was Jan’s turn to do some of his solo stuff: 'Streetwalker' was probably better than ever. It sounds better everytime I hear it (especially during the last couple of renditions I have heard), and with this line-up, especially the percussion was a great addition. Pity was that Jan broke his E-string during the last part, but this was not turning back the audience at all. A very enthusiastic applause was the result.
While Jan Kuiper was to be announcing the last song, which was a ‘Senegalese Child-song’, Jan A. responded with a simple ‘who’??….’. So, err…..Jan was doing some more, which was ‘D’Jan’Gology’ and ‘Pietons’ glued together. Funny thing was that during this ‘Hot Club de Paris’-part, both the sax-player and Jan Kuiper decided to take a seat at the side of the stage and ordered a drink, while Jan A. encouraged the violin-player to perform along, like ‘Stephane and Django’ were together.
After this, they indeed proceeded with a Senegalese child-song, which closed the second set.

For the encore, Milestones was played, while every musician got the opportunity to do another solo, including an excellent bass-solo by top-bass-player Marcel Schimscheimer (he did a fantastic solo in Streetwalker as well!).

And so, around midnight, this very special evening was over. We all agreed that this was a ‘once in a million’-chance to see such a session and Jan A. told us that he was already looking forward to the participation of The Jungle Warriors with him at a festival in Groningen later that week. He clearly enjoyed it and had a great time, both off- and onstage.

Bass-player Marcel Schimscheimer said to me after the gig, that sometimes there was a bit too much ‘information’ coming from the stage during the gig, but let’s not consider this too seriously.

This seven-piece band just has to look at each other, they know it’s all right and so they play their butts off!!


Review by Wouter Bessels
(with thanks to Bas van den Berg and Kees Oudheusden)
Final editting by Irene Heinicke