Until the present day Jasper van’t Hof, the Dutch primary rock of keyboard wizardry, keeps coming back as a surprise with a diversity of projects. The man from Enschede has just formed his band HotLips, featuring different long time companions of his curriculum, furthermore he joined again with sax player Bob Malach, outed himself as a football fan with DJ Charles Petersohn and released an elaborated solo CD. But looking back over the three and a half decades of his career, it is his short but extremely intense period with the band Pork Pie (1973 -1976) that expresses his philosophy in the most striking way - even more than the invention of Pili Pili’s ethno fusion in the late 1980s - and also influenced many musicians at that period.
Pork Pie wasn’t formed, it rather developed out of a process. After leaving the progressive band Association P.C. in 1972, Jasper played with a plethora of jazz musicians, including Jean-Luc Ponty, George Gruntz and Archie Shepp. To continue the electronic fusion path he had begun with the Association he also experimented with a group of colleagues that eventually crystallized as the legendary band with the allusion to the famous Lester Young standard in their name. With Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine by his side and Aldo Romano as well as J.F. Jenny-Clark in the rhythm section, the newcomer soared up towards an astonishing artistry within this project. In which, by the way, he took the role of the bandleader - although being the youngest musician of the quintet with just 27 years of age.
”Transitory”, the group’s first output, shows van’t Hofs diverse qualities in every single track, reflecting his flexibility and readiness to break down barriers between rock, electronic, psychedelia and free elements, and gracing them all with metric complexity.
But it’s also thanks to the extraordinary skills of van’t Hofs four band members, each of them in the heyday of their career, and their capacity of interaction hardly to be matched by any collective at that time, that this recording became one of the most important jazz rock classics of all times.
The rocking side of “Transitory” can be immediately felt in the full attack opener “Epoch” with breathtaking solos by Mariano and van’t Hof and at a more melancholic and melodious way in “Angel Eyes” which shows Philip Catherine with amazing inventiveness on his guitar. In “Something Wrong” and “March of The Oil-Sheikhs” the band leader shows his wit when experimenting with complex rhythm patterns, which he never uses in a pure academical way but with humour and even commenting on recent political issues like the oil crisis. Van’t Hof shares his love for strange rhythms with Mariano who delivers a meditative insight into his studies of South Indian music in “Pudu Kkottai”, which develops from exotic improvisation into a full-fledged jazz rock piece. A “world music” touch is also woven in by drummer Aldo Romano and guest musician Mandrake from Brazil when they imitate a samba school from a jazzy point of view. Most astonishing although is the title track which shows Jasper van’t Hof as a spooky soundscaper on the keyboard, creating psychedelic and symphonic effects ahead of his time. A revolutionary work which marks the first giant step in the discography of Jasper van’t Hof.