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Arts & Culture

Dada sound poet Jaap Blonk and free-jazz trombonist Jeb Bishop find music in the moment

Renowned artist and poet Jaap Blonk visits Timucua White House on Sunday

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Perhaps that’s why Blonk is bringing free-jazz trombonist Jeb Bishop along for October’s run of U.S. dates. The two plan to perform both solo and as a duo, while Blonk intersperses his nighttime performances with daytime lectures and artist’s residencies. “Performances will indeed vary in character,” he says. “Some will be completely improvised; some will include set pieces. … Some will be closer to sound poetry, others will be just music, [and] there will be some lectures also. No visuals on this tour, I think. Humor [also] seems to be unavoidable with me.” How does one man manage such multiplicity, you ask? “I feel very comfortable and happy with the variety of contexts I get into when on tour,” Blonk says. “I think I would get bored if all the venues were of the same type!”

A quick perusal of Blonk’s résumé reveals that he must get bored working within any one genre, too. He runs a record label, writes books, embraces electronics, loves to travel, scores orchestral arrangements and relishes attacking the rightward leanings of his native country’s government. Which might explain why the average music fan could bristle at the presentation of such confident yet unhinged variety.

“Musically, these [performances] will be very intense because you always have to be on your toes in improvised duos,” Jeb Bishop says of the upcoming tour, which includes his first professional visit to Florida. “I relate to Jaap primarily as a free improviser, but … one thing I’ve found is that the live experience is crucial. If you put this music in front of people, its immediacy and the fascination of seeing it created in the moment communicates well [to] people what we’re doing.”

Still, Blonk acknowledges the challenging nature of his performances. “What’s provocative about it is that it’s a combination of utterance felt as very direct,” he says, “and at the same time not understandable in the usual sense.” Intrigued yet, Orlando? Blonk says he has high hopes for his visit to the Sunshine State. “I’m expecting nice weather and appreciative audiences,” he says. “Other than that, it’ll be hard work performing in a different place each night with long drives in the daytime. But I like to perform many days in a row. I get stronger with it.”

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