Naked Wolf

Draai om je oren – Guy Peters

“Naked Wolf steekt moeiteloos boven het maaiveld van de hedendaagse impro- en jazzbands uit. Deze band heeft grootstedelijke cool én exotische flair, moderne uitspattingen en ouderwetse troeven als meeslepende melodieën en onweerstaanbare ritmes in de aanbieding. Kortom, een band met kleur en karakter die je graag terug wilt horen, op plaat en op een podium. Hopelijk krijgen de muzikanten en luisteraars daar volop de kans voor. ”

‘Naked Wolf raises effortlessly over the plane of today’s impro- and jazz bands. This group has a metropolitan cool and an exotic flair, modern bacchanals as well as old-fashioned trump cards like transcending melodies and irresistible rhythms. In short, a band with color and character that you like to hear again with pleasure, on record as well as live.’ (translation M.S.)

His Voice – Jan Hocek

“Je až nelidské, kolik hudebních jedinečností se vejde do pouhých 5 minut a 47 sekund!”

“It’s unbelievable how many musical singularities can fit in 5 minutes and 47 seconds!”

(translation M.S.)

Music Unlimited-Eyal Hareuveni

“This ensemble didn’t rest for a second, bursting with uncompromised joy and playful creativity that highlighted the strong personalities of each musician. There were highly arresting solos by Provan—both as a trumpeter and vocalist, Szafirowski, Gibson and El Zin. ”

Music News-Robert Winkler

“Mit einem gewaltigen Offbeatakkord der Gitarre startet die Rhythmusgruppe, die durch gut getimte Effekte die Bläserriffs vorbereitet (unterstützt von der Sängerin Felicity Provan). Daraus entwickelt sich ein interessantes Gitarrensolo (Mikael Szafirowski versteht es, mit einfachsten Mitteln große Wirkung zu erzielen und man hat das Gefühl, als ob man zusammen mit der Gitarre in den Himmel steigt).”

“With a violent offbeat chord from the guitar the rhythm section starts, supported by the well timed effect of the horn riffs. The singer Felicity Provan plays a supporting role here. From there on an interesting guitar solo develops. Mikael Szafirowski understands how to make a big effect with simple ingredients. You have a feeling of rising to the heavens with the guitar.”(translation M.S.)

Johan Janssen:

“Naked Wolf is een Amsterdamse groep onder leiding van gitarist Mikael Szafrowski. Zijn spel deed mij bij vlagen denken aan dat van Sonny Sharrock, maar was verder meer in het algemeen avant-garde jazz gitaar. Erg boeiend en afwisselend.”

“Naked Wolf is an Amsterdam group under the leadership of Mikael Szafirowski. His playing made me think of Sonny Sharrock, only further in the sphere of avant-garde guitar. Very exiting and creative.”(translation M.S.)


Rooie Waas

Incendiary Magasine-Richard Foster

“Now this is something else; something serious, something that can consider itself (in a light hearted moment) art. Something that can consider itself out there, and relevant and fucking on the nail; though I’d wager most people who hear Nu will try to dismiss this band’s work in an irritated “no time for this” manner. But that’s fine. Because Rooie Waas are taking on taboos and making their own slapdash, scratchy, annoying,onNederlands and human take on things. Rooie Waas have made something that the Dutch music world may not like. They’ve made an album that people have to think about. There’s no lekker achtergrond music here. This is no fucking borrel.

Nu is rammed, rather with a lot of thought provoking stuff, stuff spat out at us, without remit, without respite; often through the most simple suggestion and simple repetition. In fact the brilliance of this record is to leave all the difficult things unsaid, and when you realise they want you to fill in the blanks it may unsettle you. Nothing feels wasted, it’s pitched at a level where you can’t but help see the message. The lyrics of the title track are ones of some genius in this regard. “Nu is niet straks / nee, nu is niet net / nee, nu is nu /ja!” This might sound ridiculously childish but on one strange subliminal level Rooie Waas are tapping into some mad angst the Dutch have about their surroundings and how to act in them.

So, a subject that gets a lot of attention on this here LP is the meaning of “Dutch time” and how it works alongside “Dutch behaviour”. Like some dog with a chew toy, the band gets every ounce of satisfaction in deconstructing this new obsession. The Dutch, in my experience, are mad on behaving. They love it. They like to behave as a substitute to well, just making all the terrible cock ups the rest of us make in our lives. If cock ups occur then behaving as if it didn’t happen is the easiest thing to do. I’m not looking to slag anyone off, of course, there’s no hidden agenda… but that’s just the way it is. Knowing what is appropriate, what is fucking NETJES, how to manage time in the same way the water table is managed. That’s the rule here. God created the World but the Dutch created Holland. And this is what Rooie Waas are trying to upset.

Just by picking up phrases that float around Holland like confetti and throwing them back at the populace (a lot of the tracks have these phrases in the titles, such as Raar, Nu Niet, Doe Niet Zo Moeilijk) Rooie Waas flit about, acting like court jesters to the oceans of unsmiling commuters on the Rotterdam – Amsterdam trains; and whisper the most banal thoughts back at people. And unsettle them, or irritate them. It’s similar to what journalist Rob Rieman wrote recently about the “tyranny” of the use by the Dutch of the word leuk. An overuse of one word until it starts to encompass so many, too many meanings; rendering those meanings useless, rendering those who use it unable to see subtle differences in meaning, how the word has been over used, or even caring that it has. Well, Rooie Waas are putting this notion into sonic action. And unlike Rieman’s piece, there is an alternative, and it may be uncomfortable, but Rooie Waas look for the listener to act, question the words, and fill in the blanks, and maybe look at things here in a different way.

And the way this record sounds… let’s not forget that. The opener Doe Niet Zo Moeilijk!(Don’t Make Things So Difficult) is on one hand an astonishing news broadcast as well as being some weird couch session with a punk psychiatrist. Here, Holland’s obsession with being normal has been seized by Rooie Waas, and – very much in the manner of Sven the depressed fisherman when told to seize life – wrestled to the ground, pinned by the throat and strangled to death. Ho yuss. This is a superb track, dubby, gloopysynth noir, nodding to D.A.F. Adding the oriental instrumentation is a true, “bull in the china” shop touch.

Regardless of the “language barrier” you need to get this. Didn’t stop you grooving onto D.A.F. did it?”

“Just listen. This album will change your life.” // Theo Ploeg

“It’s a bit like the machines have woken up and taken over playing the music sometimes, in stilted layers of fluttering, screaming, crackling madness. I for one welcome our new robot overlords.” // Norman Records



Gonzo/Circus-Arjan van Sorge

“In vergelijking met andere bands waarin gitarist Mikael Szafirowski ook speelt, is Pumporgan veruit het meest nette project. Rooie Waas is surrealistische poëzie op vierkante beats, Naked Wolf knetterende freejazz met hotshots uit de Amsterdamse improscène, en Royal Improvisers Orchestra en NHC kunnen er ook wat van. Nee dan Pumporgan, dat een soort jazzy soulfunk maakt, met superstrakke ritmesectie, een tweekoppige blazersunit en een heerlijk zwierig zuigend Hammondorgel. Commercieel is de muziek zeker niet, zo zitten de Fins/Pools/Nederlandse gitarist en de andere bandleden niet in elkaar, maar het is zeker een van de meest toegankelijke muzikale uitingen van Dirk Bruinsma en de zijnen.”

“Compared to the other bands where the guitarist Mikael Szafirowski plays, is Pumporgan the tidiest project. Rooie Waas is surrealistic poetry with angular beats, Naked Wolf crackling free jazz with hotshots from the Amsterdam impro scene and the Royal Improvisers Orchestra and No Habla Catalan are also interesting groups. Pumporgan in this case creates a sort of jazzy soul funk, with a super tight rhythm section, a two headed horn section and a jauntily swirling Hammond organ. Commercial is this music not, that’s not the way the Finnish/Polish/Dutch guitarist and his band members do things. But for sure this is one of the most accessible from the works of Dirk Bruisma and colleagues.”

(translation M.S.)


Yedo Gibson Trio feat. Ab Baars

Doek festival blog-Kevin Whitehead

“The week’s (and Misha weekend’s) final gig was anything but a valedictory. The Brazilian-turned-Dutch tenor and soprano saxophonist Yedo Gibson led a version of his trio with his longtime sidekick, the excellent, very melodic, creative, always listening, noisy when he needs to be and never louder than he should be Finnish guitarist Mikael Szafirowski…

Their merged low-register sounds were room-shaking cavernous on “We’re Going Out for Italian” taken as a Beefhearty dirge; the tune is Misha’s version of his then-young daughter Andrea’s happy chant whenever the family was headed to her favorite restaurant. The band sang the brief “Acappella” in three-part harmony, played another earwormy “Mother of All Wars” and the equally lovely “Poor Wheel,” and generally put their own spin on everything, rather like Ideal Bread playing Steve Lacy.”