Thuistezien 198 — 06.03.2021

Jaimie Branch & Jasper Stadhouders
Musical Material

‘Musical Material’ is a collaboration between West Den Haag and Rewire that invites artists and musicians to reflect and discuss their practice in an intimate setting. For the 8th edition Jair Tchong moderates a conversation on free improvisation and jazz between American composer and free improviser Jaimie Branch, and Dutch composer/improviser Jasper Stadhouders.

The now NYC-based Jaimie Branch is a classically-trained trumpeter and electronic composer with a unique approach to groove, melody and experimentation. Jasper Stadhouders is the leader of the PolyBand, an ever-evolving, Amsterdam-based improv collective making use of polyrhythmic cycles and polytonal environments to craft a deeply hypnotic collage of sound that plays with the expectations, desires, and memories of both audience and performers.

Jair Tchong, a music programmer for KAAP Art Center, as well as journalist currently writing for platforms such as Kunsten ’92, Cultureel Persbureau, Mixed World Music, asks them each to elaborate on free improvisation, free jazz, and more generally music within their own respective contexts. They give a general overview of what this music is, why it's significant, and how they themselves ended up in this scene. The Dutch improvisation scene grew out of American free jazz improvisers coming to Europe, ultimately inspiring an independent scene, cultivated in very different social circumstances. This aspect is very apparent when listening to both Branch and Stadhouders speak about their musical experiences and what music means to them. Branch, being from America, sees the music as a form of rebellion and protest, born out of the social and economic struggle that has been present since the founding of the United States. Stadhouders, on the other hand, entered music from a strictly aesthetic perspective, free from any social or political meanings.

This talk brings together two contemporary artists, one from the American improvisation scene and one from the Dutch to discuss the music and its state today. Though they may differ in ways, the core of their musical beliefs are the same: freedom.

Text: Hendrik Hohlfeld