Misha Mengelberg

Genres: Jazz
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Biography

5 April 1935, Kiev, Ukraine. Born of a Dutch father, Mengelberg was raised in Holland where, for 40 years, he has personified the Dutch avant garde. He characterizes himself as ‘a rotten piano player’ - if that is the case, wittier use has rarely been made of limitations. Mengelberg has consistently aligned himself with iconoclastic and provocative musicians, from straight music’s Zen terrorists David Tudor and John Cage in the early 60s, to Eric Dolphy in 1963, to the members of the Dutch Instant Composers Pool, with whom he still works. Together with his long-standing ICP collaborator Han Bennink, he has been one of the main instigators behind three albums that have paid tribute to pianist Herbie Nichols - two with a small group that also featured Steve Lacy, and one with the ICP Orchestra. As an improviser, Mengelberg holds out for the ‘responsibility to be different every day’ and is against the jazzman’s obsession with personal...

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