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Michiel Borstlap
"Body Acoustic"
Acoustic Interpretations of Weather Report


Not every Dutchman can claim one of his compositions has been recorded by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter ("1+1" - Verve).
As much as jazz has become international music, Michiel Borstlap has become an international musician and composer. He has learned over the years to move away from the traditional set of conventions of what jazz must be and how it must sound.
His development can be traced on a number of albums. Borstlap is his own man and he will surprise the world of jazz for many years to come. Until now he played/recorded with renowed artists such as Jimmy Haslip, Les Paul, James Genus, Han Bennink, Ernst Reijseger, Hans Dulfer, Essiet Okon Essiet, and Roy Hargrove.

At the age of 5, Michiel started touching the keys. Barely 25 years later he had two international palmares : he was named as The Best Soloist at the Europ Jazz Contest 1992 , held in Brussels. In 1996 he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Composers Award (the presentation of this Award was a true happening. At the attendance of several American celebrities (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Al Gore and the whole american jazz society, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter played his award winning song for TV (ABC & CNN) and radio (NPR).

A continuum in his musical development plus those awards leaded to another remarkable milestone in a musician' s career : an exclusive recording contract with the UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, resulting in 4 album release on the prestigious jazzlabel EmArCy/VERVE.
Since 1992 Michiel leads his own groups. Big hits are : the Han Bennink/Michiel Borstlap/Ernst Glerum Trio (played between New York, Amsterdam, Budapest and Sidney); The Michiel Borstlap Sextet (the takin'off group of Borstlap in 1992, the band played between Barcelona, Belfast, Amsterdam, Beijing and Shanghai), and of course his most recent project the Michiel Borstlap Group BODY ACOUSTIC. This group helped Borstlap records his VERVE debut in 1999. The group played on several VERVE nights at renowed festival like the Umbria Jazz Fest., Berliner Jazztage, and the North Sea jazzfestival. In 2000 many festivals are scheduled, a.o. in South Africa, Germany, Australia and Japan.
The album Body Acoustic was the best sold dutch jazz record of 1999, and was ranked #2 in the national jazzcharts, between Branford Marsalis and Cassandra Wilson. Internationally the album has been released in Europe, Astralia, Japan (2/00) and North America (5/00) Michiel moved the scene of jazz in the Netherlands by gaining attention on public and commercial TV networks, where he presented his own music time after time. Yamaha Grand Pianos is endorsing the pianist since 1996 on a worldwide basis.
For the next millenium, Michiel is preparing new endeavours : solo concerts (his first in the main hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw was already a succes), and a flirt with Dance/clubbing music has been also commenced.
Press quotes "cristaline pianoplaying" - New York Times (USA) "utterly magnificent" - Belfast Cronicle (N- Ireland) "remarkable pianist" - Sidney Morning Herald (Australia) "spellbounding" - Beijing Post (China) "diamond" - Jazzthing (Germany) "extremely competent" - Joe Zawinul (linernote of Body Acoustic).

Spring of 1996, i had the idea for a project of acoustic interpretations of Weather Report music. No doubt that for many years this fantastic music had inspired me, and many others. In respect of the very personal interpretation of the songs by this American mega group, i did not even consider to touch them. Hence i was aiming for material that was ready to be exposed to "acoustic" interpretations, but played "electric".
For this album i formed a new band, the Michiel Borstlap group. The line-up doesn't refer much to the original line-up of Weather Report, it has guitar, acoustic bass and piano. Next to the group i decided also to play on this album with Trio Bennink / Borstlap / Glerum. This trio is very special to me. Its formation was suggested by Amsterdam Bimhuis programmer Huub van Riel, and we have been performing in this setting since May 1997 in Holland, New York and Australia. There have never been rehearsals before any of the performances, the music itself dictates the songs we fly into.
We transferred "Mr. Gone" into a "city jungle" groove wi th tempo changes to a medium swing part. Drummer Hans Eijkenaar interpretes the theme in the last part on his own.
"Volcano For Hire" stands as an example for this formation, a blowing tour with tenor, guitar and piano solos on the incredibly composed last movement of the piece. Check out the energy behind the percussion stock of Jeroen de Rijk.

Man In The Green Shirt" features all the soloists and reveals different moods.
In the duet "Birdland" trumpeter Eric Vloeimans's great sound and feeling for form speak for themselves, but we take the tempo much slower that the original.
On "When It Was Now" Tom Beek, playng tenor sax and bass clarinet, is featured in extended forms of the song, wich is introduced by bassist Anton Drukker.

"The Pursuit Of The Woman With The Feathered Hat" is the only song we recorded in layers, a procedure which is normally used by popmusic recordings. It's a collage of rhythms, colours, solos and communications. This song was particularly interesting for an acoustic approach. Thanks Hans !
Drummer Han Bennink is featured in "Three Views Of A Secret", in duet with piano. To me this seemed the only way to record this incredible composition of Jaco Pastorius: fast and lively !
Bassist Ernst Glerum enters on "Face On The Barroom Floor", a breathtaking ballad by Wayne Shorter. I wanted to hold on to the chord changes and just play his composition without any alterations.
Two original compositions performed by the Michiel Borstlap Group complete the album: "Centurion" is a blues but has a 7/8 bar (as suggested by Jeroen) and 2/4 bar. It features guitar, piano and drum solos. The ballad "Coco" is dedicated to the beautiful daughter of bassist Anton Drukker. It features again guest-trumpeter Vloeimans who performs the melody. Guitaris Jesse van Ruller leads the song to an end.
When finishing the album, a friend of mine suggested to add the multimedia track on the CD. You'll see a stunning video clip, directed by Jonathan Herman, recorded in the famous Amsterdam Vondelpark, quoting Joe Zawinul's "The Pursuit Of The Woman With The Feathered Hat".
The title of the album refers to the classic Weather Report album "I Sing The Body Electric" (1973 - CBS).
This Weather Report material, which was created in my childhood, naturally had a great impact to me. However, i do hope that "Body Acoustic" will not only be a tribute to Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Peter Erskine and all other Weather Report "patriots" but also a continuation of improvised popular music (jazz ?) at the beginning of the new century. Centurion !
Michiel Borstlap.

Joe Zawinul's Liner Notes - Body Acoustic

I listened to Michiel Borstlap's project. It is quite interesting how different he treats this particular material. Here you have an extremely competent musician with an exciting band playing originally electronic orchestrated pieces with the traditional jazz formation (duet, trio, sextet and septet) interpretation.

The songs have been partly dissected and very clever - Intros, Interludes, snippets of catchy melodies- put together again. I like it and I am pleased to hear young musicians trying different approaches. Weather Report music always had little hidden treasures and Michiel as well as the other players seem to recognize these. Much luck with the project.
Greetings Joe Zawinul

Body Acoustic - Tracks / Musicians:

1. Mr. Gone (7.32) *
2. Volcano For Hire (6.07)
3. Face On The Barroom Floor (3.55)
4. Centurion (7.09) *
5. When It Was Now (7.44)
6. The Pursuit Of The Woman With The Feathered Hat (7.37)
7. Coco (5.46)
8. Three Views Of A Secret (3.56)
9. Man In The Green Shirt (7.23) *
10. Birdland (5.06) *

Multimedia Track: Pursuit (4.48)


Michiel Borstlap - grand piano
Tom Beek - tenor saxophone & bass clarinet
Jesse van Ruller - guitar
Anton Drukker - acoustic bass
Jeroen de Rijk - percussion
Hans Eijkenaar - drums
Ernst Glerum - acoustic bass
Han Bennink - drums
Eric Vloiemans - trumpet

When out of interest i searched on the internet for "Zawinul", i bumped on the Joe Zawinul Unofficial Italian Fansite. Immediately i felt excitement because normally surfing on the internet is a pain the ass....too boring.
This site has some very interesting features : it allows you to listen to live concerts of Joe, it has a lot of archive material (photos, reviews, articles) about the American Mega Group WEATHER REPORT.
The Joe Zawinul unofficial FAnSite is for THE source on the internet to find out about anything related to the music of "Papa"Joe, whether it is his dazzling SYNDICATE or WEATHER REPORT.
Let 's dance, let's Zawinul !! ;))
Michiel Borstlap.

Thanks, Michiel !

This page was created in collaboration with Michiel Borstlap.
To have more informations on Michiel and his work, you can
go to the official Michiel Borstlap's website.
You can also
contact Michiel by e-mail.
We wish to thank Michiel for his precious gift to all the Weather Report's fans.
Thank you, Michiel !!



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