Composers Corner Podcast: 15. Misha Mengelberg


March 6, 2017

Misha Mengelberg (June 5, 1935 - March 3, 2017) was a Dutch pianist, instant-composer and band leader that played a pivotal role in the history of European improvised music.

Mengelberg was widely known for his work with the Instant Composers Pool (which he founded in 1967) and later the ICP Orchestra, both ensembles still standing as landmarks of the Dutch avant-garde jazz scene.

With a career spanning nearly six decades, Misha Mengelberg was the kind of musician impossible to predict, standing on a thin line between the jazz tradition and improvisation. He participated in countless collaborations that ranged from reinterpreting Thelonious Monk, to the sometimes humorous performances that at the time seemed to break the musical rules.

Along with his more energetic musical partner and life-long friend, Dutch drummer Han Bennink, Mengelberg played on Eric Dolphy's 1964 Last Date live album, and continued their partnership until Mengelberg was forced to retire from performing after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

*photo: Maarten Corbijn


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