Boom Crane
  • Peter Van Huffel Peter Van Huffel
  • Michael Bates Michael Bates
  • Jeff Davis Jeff Davis

Peter Van Huffel

Boom Crane

Fresh Sound New Talent

Peter Van Huffel (as, cl), Michael Bates (b), Jeff Davis (d)

Reference: FSNT-432

Bar code: 8427328424325


01. More 5:02
02. Jest 3:16
03. Automatic Vaudeville 6:13
04. Not a Living Soul 8:16
05. Tower in the Trees 3:29
06. Boom Crane 6:24
07. Slipper Hero 8:41
08. Talk to Me 6:31
09. Quasar 3:54
10. On Equilibrium 5:45
11. Fast and Flurious 2:37

Total time: 60:00 min. approx.

Tracks #2,4,9 & 11 by Peter Van Huffel
Tracks #3,6 & 10 by Michael Bates
Tracks #5,7 & 8 by Jeff Davis
Track #1 by Van Huffel, Bates, Davis


Peter Van Huffel (alto sax, clarinet), Michael Bates (bass), and Jeff Davis (drums).

Recorded at Tedesco Studios, Paramus, New Jersey, on March 28, 2013

Engineered by Tom Tedesco

Mixed and mastered by David Darlington, at Bass Hit Studios, New Yorkon May 21, 2013

Produced by Boom Crane
[Peter Van Huffel, Michael Bates & Jeff Davis]

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol



"On Boom Crane, the trio of the same name Davis jointly leads with alto saxophonist/clarinetist Peter Van Huffel and bassist Michael Bates, the drummer joins in explorations of gutbucket swing and abstract excursions.

Extremely like-minded, the trio begins with More Room, which seems to start in the middle of the tune. Davis plays a brief introduction, quickly leading to a winding bass solo. Its an odd intro to any album, cracking the door open just wide enough to let you see where the trio is heading. After the bass solo, alto joins in and the trio begins a series of escalations, de-escalations and off-kilter swing pulses. The rest of Boom Crane follows this freeish-intro-meets-walking trajectory, from the scattered rhythms of Jest and the Latin Automatic Vaudeville to Slipper Hero, which swings jaggedly. Boom Crane ties it all together via the trios excellent conversational skills and adroit pacing."

-Ken Micallef (November, 2014)
The New York City Jazz Record


"Providing an unassailable musical instance of Equilibrium, a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced also the title of one composition on this incisive CD is the intuitive skill of two expatriate Canadians and one American. In fact, such is the dexterity of the trio in negotiating moods and tempos on Boom Cranes 11 selections that Boom Crane (the band) sounds like a full-time working group. In truth the three convene infrequently, since Kingston, Ontario-born alto saxophonist/clarinetist Peter Van Huffel is in Berlin; while B.C. native, bassist Michael Bates lives in Brooklyn as does Yank drummer Jeff Davis.

Actually titled On Equilibrium, the track perfectly syncs vibrating reed slurs, beefy string pumps and drum pops, but thats only one of the trios attributes. Besides Van Huffels warm clarinet tone used on a couple of occasions to wiggle out unmatched balladic interpretations, his biting alto lines equally illuminate bop, blues and experimental forays. Sharp and tense, the title tune is a stop-time blues which distends without ever splintering and features Blakes comfortable but commanding strumming. Dissonant Slipper Hero showcases hollow breaths forced through the saxophone alongside double-stopping arco string buzzes until Davis amiable swing beat helps guide the others towards an electrifying communicative finale.

On Automatic Vaudeville apparently The Jazz Messenger must operate in that venerable tradition, since Bates walking bass and Van Huffels buoyant note jumps reference hard bop. Later reed squeaks and string pops confirm the tunes modernity, plus the time is slyly doubled until variations lead back to the initial theme.

But perhaps the most characteristic track is Not A Living Soul. Another exercise in shifting tempos, its centrepiece is Bates dark, extended bass solo. It separates with skill the herky-jerky, flutter-tongued sax-led beginning and the blended conclusion of graceful cymbal vibrations, supple reed trills and bass string resonations.

A notable debut disc that calls for celebration not boom lowering on the trio, the CDs tunes and the band can be experienced in Toronto this month."

Ken Waxman (October, 2014)


"Tras Boom Crane están el saxofonista (y aquí clarinetista) Peter van Huffel (líder de los potentes Gorilla Mask), el contrabajista Michael Bates y el baterista Jeff Davis. En su estreno homónimo en Fresh Sound New Talent, los tres músicos despliegan una propuesta potente compuesta por temas propios (todos ellos aportan tanto piezas individuales como temas colectivos) que suena plenamente actual. Boom Crane es un power trio que se inspira en la música y en músicos de la talla de John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk u Ornette Coleman.

More Room suena potente y deja clara la propuesta del grupo desde el inicio del disco. Tras la monkiana Jest, se suceden Automatic Vaudeville y Not A Living Soul con un swing inapelable en el que hay espacio para unos grandes solos, como el que protagoniza el contrabajista en la segunda de estas piezas. Tras esta demostración de potencia inicial, el grupo cambia de registro con el tiempo medio Tower In The Trees (en la que Peter van Huffel cambia su habitual saxo por el clarinete), y el blues que da tanto el nombre al grupo como el título a su estreno discográfico. En este momento las credenciales ya están presentadas. En los últimos cinco temas se vuelven a suceder piezas potentes (que no dejan de mirar a la apertura que proporciona el dejarse llevar por los terrenos del free) y tiempos medios. Como colofón, el tema de clara inspiración ornettiana Fast And Flurious.

Magnífico el estreno de este grupo, que muestra la variedad de terrenos por los que se mueven tanto Peter van Huffel (especialmente si se compara este con algún otro de sus proyectos), como Michael Bates y Jeff Davis."

Patxi Tapiz (15 Octubre, 2014)


"Every once in a while Ill start asking myself about what I expect from new music. Should each record try to break new grounds, establish various paradigm shifts, or is it enough to want more of the same, more of the music that Im comfortable listening to? The great thing about albums such as Peter Van Huffels Boom Crane is that it brings a bit of both of those things to the table and makes me forget the question I was pondering over in the first place. It makes me just enjoy the great tunes.

Boom Crane is a frolic record and a debut album that any band could wish for. The trio of Peter Van Huffel on alto saxophone and clarinet, Michael Bates on bass, and Jeff Davis on drums indulge in an incredibly joyful, powerful display of a multitude of styles within jazz whilst also adding touches of their own in the mix. Something old, something new, something unexpected, Boom Crane is, at its best, an incredible explosion of sound and expression sprinkled with many twists and surprises. The musicians build and drive their music with sudden tempo changes and weird time signatures, while also playing with the most diverse jazz idioms which, in turn, results in a fusion of epochs and forms, from post-bop to swing. This is not free jazz in the strictest sense, but it surely does feel liberated. Its also an intense record, for sure, with the intensity not diminished by hints of groove and catchy melodies which seem to emerge now and again (On Equilibrium), nor by the bluesy patches on some tracks which evoke and conjure romantic and pensive atmospheres (Boom Crane, Talk to Me). Slower and faster bits intertwine, between wild freak outs you sometimes find a calm, introspective bass solo. As you listen to the relentlessly urgent Fast and Furious, you just cant help imagining Tom & Jerry chasing each other through a maze. Its a studio record, even though it sounds so alive. The performance is so vivid that you can almost hear the imaginary audience clapping between song sections, interrupting the musicians, and lavishing them with praise.

The trio might, at times, remind you of some other acts. A sentiment of humor and whimsy that fills the music ties them to Mostly Other People Do the Killing. On the other hand, the endeavor of trying to harness rock aesthetics inside of jazz, which threatens to explode and flow beyond its confines and boundaries, might lead you to think of Led Bib, The Lounge Lizards, or the The Bad Plus. To be clear, Peter Van Huffels trio doesnt sound anything like those bands, but the attitude is similar. The musicianship is as top notch as the exhibited attitude. Finally, as is the case with most well made albums, all musicians enjoy an equal status: they are equally present in the mix, equally important in the sound, and even equally share writing credits. Even though Van Huffels saxophone might seem dominant in certain moments, it mostly comes down to its inherent sound characteristics. This is a balanced, well-rounded and exciting record with no serious flaws.

In a nutshell: eleven great songs, about an hour in duration, make Boom Crane a thrilling and constantly good record that gets everything right and offers a pleasurable listen. A most pleasurable listen."

Antonio Poscic -June 30, 2014


"Pity the neighbors of the jazz trio Boom Crane. It's not that their garage band approach to music making is off-putting or offensive, it's that the ferocity of their approach is just so demanding. Saxophonist Peter Van Huffel's New York trio of Michael Bates (bass) and Jeff Davis (drums) release this, their inaugural recording, as a purely leaderless effort. Each player contributes music here, and thankfully the engineer has mixed the sound to feature this egalitarian trio.

The disc opens with "More Room," the only wholly free jazz piece on the recording. That's significant because the remainder of the music is rigorously form-fitted compositions that threaten to implode, or maybe explode?

Such is the music of Boom Crane. Van Huffel's background, like that of his bandmates, is in the eclectic. He leads the hardrock/free-jazz band Gorilla Mask and performs in House of Mirrors, a modern chamber music ensemble. Bates is a member of the saxophonist's quintet and a quartet he leads with vocalist Sophie Tassignon. He got his start in hardcore punk, drifted to jazz and released Acrobat: Music For, And By, Dmitri Shostakovich (Sunnyside, 2011) and several stellar discs with his band Outside Sources (with Jeff Davis) on Greenleaf Records. The drummer, with a classical music background, has recorded covers of Black Sabbath's music with the band Rocket Engine and is an in-demand drummer for groups that include Kirk Knuffke, Tony Malaby, Eivind Opsvik and Kris Davis.

"Fast and Flurious" evokes an Albert Ayler themed anthem that is injected with a speed metal cocktail. The trio thrives in the muscular world of rapid changes and balanced participation. Bate's bass is conspicuous throughout; he (and Davis) do more than keep time. On "Equilibrium" he aggressively leads the piece through multiple sections, and on the ballad "Tower In The Trees," he stalks Van Huffel's clarinet with a sinister walk. The clarinet resurfaces in "Quasar," the gentle (yes, they sometimes lay down arms) chamber ballad.

What is significant here is Boom Crane's attitude, which is dutifully backed up by the band's musicianship. They can navigate the sly time shifts of the swinging compositions "Automatic Vaudeville" and "Boom Crane," the title track, both drawing from classic jazz but played with the reverence fitting a band of insurgents."

Mark Corroto (May 8, 2014)


"Les trois premiers titres More, Jest et Automatic Vaudeville génèrent une intensité cyclonique. A la fois abstraite, précise et nerveuse, la musique évoque une foule de références qui vont de Jackie McLean à Ornette Coleman en passant par Steve Coleman. Le contrebassiste, le batteur et le saxophoniste alto entretiennent une relation marquée par des années d'écoute et d'échange si bien que les interactions sont portées à un niveau maximum d'incandescence, renforçant la cohésion et la densité de ce jazz urbain qui grouille de vie à l'instar de cette mégapole newyorkaise où il est né. Sur Not A Living Soul, Van Huffel a accroché bout à bout de multiples sections aux tempos variables qui s'enchaînent comme les épisodes imprévisibles d'un feuilleton speedé. Dans cette arcane sonore, le saxophone part en errance sans retenue ni filet avant d'exploser tel une scène ultra-violente d'un long métrage de Quentin Tarentino. La composition défile ensuite comme un road movie où se succèdent périodes intenses et moments de calme précaires. Après ce flux torrentiel, Tower In The Trees apparaît comme un interlude bienvenu. Interprété à la clarinette, la composition explore un univers vaguement mystérieux, installant un climat un peu inquiétant dont on regrette seulement qu'il ne dure pas plus longtemps. Le trio continue par la suite à délivrer avec véhémence un jazz moderne et pétri de références à ce que cette musique offre de plus novateur, mais aussi imprévisible et varié. Ainsi, en vrac: le titre éponyme rappelle le discours de Coltrane période Impulse!; Slipper Hero est rehaussé par un beau solo à l'archet de Michael Bates; Talk To Me, qui débute comme une ballade, tombe dans un crescendo hallucinant bâti autour du phrasé prolixe de Van Huffel; Equilibrium est une autre composition à tiroirs alternant guerre et paix dans une construction sophistiquée; et le bien nommé Fast And Furious, qui clôt cet album, n'est qu'un cri libertaire en parfaite communion avec celui de cet indomptable du free jazz que fut Albert Ayler. Et puis, au milieu de tout ça, il y a cette fantastique improvisation collective sur ce thème cosmique intitulé Quasar d'où se détache une clarinette tout en rondeur d'ébène, enfin sereine et apaisée.

Un grand merci au label Fresh Sound qui ose encore donner la parole à des formations aussi novatrices, brillantes et captivantes que celle-ci."

Pierre Dulieu & Albert Maurice Drion (Mai 2014)


"Nous suivons depuis 2010 le saxophoniste canadien (installé à Berlin) Peter Van Huffel. Son disque "Like the Rusted Key" avait reçu un Oui enthousiaste ! Tous ses projets sont dignes du plus grand intérêt et celui-ci a été enregistré dans le New Jersey avec Michael Bates, contrebassiste connu en France pour son travail avec le collectif Imuzzic et lexcellent batteur Jeff Davis. La formule du trio sax-basse-batterie est souvent périlleuse mais avec des musiciens de cette trempe, cest un vrai régal. Michael Bates donne le ton dès lintroduction et prépare la voie pour le saxophoniste quil pousse dans ses retranchements. Un jeu à trois sans temps morts place cette musique, pourtant exigeante, à un haut niveau." (Mai 2014)


$11.94  (tax incl.)

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