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Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow): Chance and Change (Casco Records)

The free swinging Dutch piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on contrabass, cracklebox & objects and George Hadow on drums, in a set of buoyant and ebullient improvisations, a mix of composed and collective works that bring together tradition and freedom, melody and abstraction, while clearly enjoying their playful approach to creative jazz.

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product information:

UPC: 8714835177876

Label: Casco Records
Catalog ID: 008
Squidco Product Code: 32386

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: Netherlands
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Atelier 5, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on June 6th and 7th, 2022, by Hayden Hook.


Raoul van der Weide-contrabass, cracklebox, objects

George Hadow-drums

Michiel Scheen-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Raoul van der Weide (Fontenailles / Fr, 1949) played 6 years of classical violin in the Northern Netherlands Youth Orchestra. As a bassist he developed largely autodidactic but also studied classical double bass at John Clayton and Norma Brooks. Contrast point at Guus Janssen. Feel inspired by inspiration and improvisational practice in the free but unstructured views of various musicians like Paul Termos, Guus Janssen, Lennie Tristano, Misha Mengelberg, Jimmy Giuffre, Steve Lacy, Ornette Coleman, Derek Bailey, Charles Mingus and Munir Bashir.

As an improviser, the creative focus is on the development possibilities of open personal aesthetics in the broadest sense. The continued deepening of its own sound, intonation and power of expression - of the musical fingerprint - is considered important.Van Raoul van der Weide published the solo CD 'Passages' (GeestGronden # 24 / at the beginning of 2006, to which De Volkskrant and promising 4 stars discussion was dedicated.

Worked together in Bert Koppelaar's POINT OF ORCHESTURE, Paul Termos Trio, Guus Jansen Septet / Octet / Orchestra, Burton Greene Quartet / Trio Spazio Trio (with K. Bauer and Guenther Sommer), Luc Houtkamp Quartet, Ab Baars Sextet, Peter Zegveld projects ('Caspar Rapak' and 'Statua Tumultus'), The Gravitones (Winners Dordtse Jazz Prize 1995), Joost Buis & The Famous Astronotes, Sound-Lee! Quartet ('Plays the Music of Lee Konitz'), New Crosscurrents Sextet."

-Raoul van der Weide Website (Translated by Google) (

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"George Hadow represents the newest wave of improvisers to hit the Dutch scene. Like many of the active newcomers, George is an expat, hailing from Devon in the UK. George first came to the Netherlands in 2011 to take part in the Dutch Impro Academy, where he studied with Han Bennink and Michael Moore, among others. He has quickly developed into a mature musician, playing with acute sensitivity as well as unbridled power.

The list of regular groups with whom he performs is impressive for its scale and diversity: The Blue Lines Trio, Mulligan - Baker Project, Terrie Ex/Raoul van der Weide/George Hadow, Aya ba yaya, Almeida/Dikeman/Hadow, Molino, Galm Quartet. George has also collaborated with Andy Moor, Roy Paci, Anne-James Chaton and Joe Williamson, The Ex and Cactus Truck as well as countless ad hoc combinations."

-DOEK Festival Website (

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"In 2012 pianist and composer Michiel Scheen (1963, Amsterdam) joined Raoul van der Weide (bass, cracklebox, sound objects) and George Hadow (drums) in the Blue Lines Trio, a initiative by Van der Weide.

In 2016 the trio invited Ada Rave (tenorsaxophone), Bart Maris (trumpets) and Wolter Wierbos (trombone) to form the Blue Lines Sextet.

Besides that, Scheen regularly plays a duo with saxophonist and clarinetist Tobias Delius and with the Jan Nijdam Quartet.

After a retreat from 2000 untill 2004, he formed a new quartet with Ab Baars, Han Bennink and Ernst Glerum. They recorded the well received CD "Dance, my dear?".From 1986 untill 1999 Scheen worked with many musicians, amongst others with Ab Baars, Conrad Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Han Bennink, Jaap Blonk, Anthony Braxton, Tobias Delius, Cor Fuhler, Hans Hasebos, Gerry Hemingway, Wiek Hijmans, Guus Janssen, George Lewis, Misha Mengelberg, Roscoe Mitchell, Butch Morris, Jacques Palinckx, Evan Parker, Hans Reichl, Vladimir Tolkachev, Tang Xu and John Zorn.

He also worked with the international ensemble Ohrkiste, led by Radu Malfatti (a.o. with Evan Parker), the Paul Termos Tentet and Dubbel Express, the electro-acoustic trio YPON (with Michael Barker and Wiek Hijmans), Structures, led by Peter van Bergen, Cardueles Cardueles (leader: Cor Fuhler), the Dickinson Projekt by Ig Henneman, Kenvermogen (with a.o. Wiek Hijmans and Hans Hasebos), the Maarten Altena Ensemble (collaborations with a.o. Remco Campert, Mark Terstroet, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Lawrence Butch Morris, John Zorn and theatergroup Discordia; tours through Europe, USA, Canada and USSR), the theaterproduction "Elektra and Orestes" by director Erik-Ward Geerlings and composer Arthur Sauer (theatergroup FACT Rotterdam), Seafood (led by Alan Laurillard) and the Object Theatre Orchestra (a duo with Augusto Forti).

In 1991 Michiel Scheen was commisioned by NOS-radio and Jazzmarathon Groningen to compose a live-set, which resulted in the project "Rijs", with a.o. Jaap Blonk, Tristan Honsinger and Paul Koek. He initiated projects and ensembles (Filiaal, the Michiel Scheen Sextet and -Quartet and TRIKLINION), with a.o. Ab Baars, Jaap Blonk, Michael Vatcher, Frank van Berkel and Hans van der Meer. Since 1990 Scheen recieved commisions and stipendia for his work as a composer from the "Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst" (the Dutch fund for composers).

Scheen also joined the Dutch jazz-musicians union: the BIM (Beroepsvereniging van Improviserende Musici). During 1994-1996 he was a member of the board, and during 1996-1998 he was the chairman of this union. As a chairman Scheen engaged in contacts with the Ministery of Education, Culture and Science, several funds for artists and other unions. He also was involved in the "Stichting de Centrale", a service-unit for freelance musicians."

-Michiel Scheen Website (

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track listing:

1. Diddleville 3:52

2. Improvisation 2153 6:39

3. Iggy Abdul 3:34

4. Improvisation 2155 3:27

5. Culture Boy 4:02

6. Improvisation 2154 4:03

7. Improvisation 2152 2:22

8. Traces 5:01

9. Improvisation 2156 3:35

10. Vacuumville 5:28

11. Improvisation 2158 1:30

12. Improvisation 2159 7:54

13. Clouds And Sunny Chunks 3:26

14. Improvisation 2161 & Home 7:17

15. Untitled 0:41
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Free music: is it okay if it swings? Blue Lines Trio can answer that: Oh my, yes. It's true some progressive improvisers appear swing-averse, as if buoyant propulsive floating syncopated rhythm were passé: a line they wouldn't cross. We might trace this attitude back to the new assertive freedoms that drummers and bassists enjoyed in the 1960s, liberated at last from subservience to the beat. Back then, in the new and exciting field of European improvised music, rejecting swing had a political dimension: a pushback against American (rhythmic) hegemony. Little as the quietly cooperative English and machine-gunning German free schools had in common, they shared that aversion. The Dutch gave up swinging too-for about five minutes; they (cough Han and Misha) loved that buoyant beat too much. Dutch improvisers had their own aversion, to ruling anything out: for such free-thinkers free music means free to (do what you want), not free from (traditional musical values). The object is to broaden the possibilities, not narrow them.

BLT is hardly the only piano/bass/drums trio who swing, play tunes and play free-maybe you heard of Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette. But it is rare for a band's free pieces to swing so hard and habitually: hear the back half of "Improvisation 2153" or "2154." Even scratchy "2158" goes there. Part of the trio's buoyancy stems from Raoul's plump woody sound, at a realistic acoustic volume, which reinforces his pliable beat and tuneful figurations. (There's sly humor in his lines, as in his talk.) Michiel Scheen's piano sound is equally distinctive. In the 1990s his diamond-hard attack at the ivories made him pianist of choice for (among others) leaders Paul Termos-Raoul's mate in a few bands, earlier still-and Maarten Altena. (At the same time Michiel had his own bands, projects, records and composer commissions to deal with.) Some percussive pianists sound heavy, overbearing. Michiel's sound is often bright and springy, as on Raoul's "Trace Materials": you can almost see hands as well as piano hammers bouncing clear of the keys, kinetic. He improvises long coherent sequences but doesn't forget to come up for air. (It's not just wind players who need breath pauses; listeners do too.) Drummer George Hadow keeps his mates surging ahead, propelling the action with every stick or brush stroke. As I've written elsewhere, Hadow's explicitly jazzy time-keeping isn't at-one-remove style-quoting: he loves that slippery pulsation.

When the open improvising is this strong, the program's composed pieces had better measure up. Michiel's "Diddleville" kicks Chance and Change off right. Fleet bass and drums (dig those brushes) spark an inspired piano flight, an essay on clarity and speed. The off-kilter "Clouds and sunny chunks" is also title track to Michiel's 2020 solo album (Filiaal 5), just as Raoul and George had recorded the bassist's "Culture Boy," with its echoes of a Nat King Cole evergreen, in 2018 for the Xavier Pamplona Septet's Dutch repertoire CD Play the (Casco 006). On the trio "Culture Boy," the melody is mostly in the bass, which mostly plays melody: a quixotic choice that works. There are many such choices here, like the typewriter rhythms Raoul and George tap into their duo "Improvisation 2155." (A large dried Gambian bean pod wedged between bass strings creates authentic West African rattling.)

The players hail from non-adjacent decades-Raoul was born in 1949, Michiel in '63. No longer a newcomer, George Hadow, b.1992, hails from Devon in the southwest UK, and began studying drums as a kid, in time drawing timely inspiration from among others Joey Baron, whom he saw live a few times, and Han Bennink, discovered via YouTube. That discovery led George to enroll at the Dutch Impro Academy in 2011. Within a year he was living in Amsterdam, where he soon crossed paths and instantly connected with Raoul. "I've played with him in many bands and many more ad hoc improvised settings-more than anyone anywhere," says George. When the bassist brought Michiel in to play a trio session in 2012, the drummer and pianist had the same kind of quick connection. Hear their telepathic conjunctions on the duo "2159" and the trio's "Improvisation 2153" in particular. BLT can make it all sound easy, but they work at it-try to play together every week (where, say, Jarrett and company only convened on stage).

George Hadow: "One of the strongest parts of the trio is, when we sit down to improvise, and create a piece of music with a nice structure. It's a cheeky trio in a way: Any of us can take any decision at any moment-to break things up, or reintroduce a previous section, or just go BLAM. I love those telepathic moments. And we do swing quite a bit. To me the trio sounds quite inspired by Dutch music-humorous, colorful, playful: musicians unafraid to take risks. We find our own strange way of playing jazz."

It's that freedom to not freedom from he's talking about. Lines, even blue ones, can divide: think of borderlines. But other lines connect, take the short route between isolated points, and in so doing join those points together in some maybe-more-than-symbolic way. Blue Lines Trio make it all too clear which side of that line they play on.

Blue Lines Trio's eponymous first album from 2014 (Casco 002) was a gem. Does Chance and Change advance their range? Oh my, yes."-Kevin Whitehead

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Piano Trio (Piano Bass Drums)
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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