The penultimate communicative experience that can be shared by two musicians is the duet, when a pair of unblinking sound-shapers stare eyeball-to-eyeball--with ears wide open. The possibilities are unlimited, from hushed conversation framed by heartfelt murmurs of love to a frenzied battle-royal fueled by spitfire Hatfield-McCoy intensity.
When Eugene Chadbourne, prankster guitarist, and Dutch percussionist Han Bennink, (pictured) the human drum, go one-on-one Thursday, Sept. 14 at Humble Pie, and Friday, Sept. 15, at Go! Studios in Carrboro, all bets are off. And though Chadbourne has gigged at Triangle clubs for decades, these dates with Bennink promises to be extraordinary.
Along with giants like Peter Brotzmann and Derek Bailey, Bennink pioneered the European free jazz movement during the '60s. The son of an orchestra percussionist, young Han first honed his chops on kitchen chairs and to this day, specializes in banging "found" objects like pizza boxes or whatever else happens to be lying around backstage. His spangled resume includes years of dues-paying, tapping out old-school swing behind touring American stars in Holland as well as membership in historic units like the Willem Brueker big band. Throughout his career, Bennink has specialized in duo performance, pairing off with saxophonist Steve Lacy, trumpeter Dave Douglas and a host of other bright lights. No stylistic option--be it Dixieland or the boldest improv you could imagine--lies beyond his reach.
The lucky audiences at Go! and Humble Pie will discover that, unlike some free spirits, Bennink and Chadbourne are serious players who also understand the formidable rhythm of laughter. Yep, free improv meets vaudeville. That's a strange concept, granted, but it could happen right here in the Triangle.
Presented by Alliance for Improvised Music (AIM), the Sept. 15 Bennink-Chadbourne show will kick off a series of concerts called Double Eye, which welcomes musicians from beyond America's border. Opening act for Friday's date will be Corpus Ludens, an experimental dance-music ensemble from San Francisco.