Misha Mengelberg - piano

Dirk Bell - guitar

Ryan Carniaux - trumpet

Gerd Dudek - tenor sax

Joscha Oetz - bass

Nils Tegen - drums

Recorded at the Loft Cologne by Stefan Deistler, mixed and mastered by Uwe Sabirowski, photos by Guillermo Tellechea, photo of Nils Tegen by Gerhard Richter, graphic design concept by Christiane Resch, produced by Dirk Bell, contact: mail@dirkbell.de. Thanks to Stefan Krautkrämer, gRoBA and to Mark Steinhäuser, Uwe Sabirowski, Hans-Martin Müller, Martin van Leusden. 2014 all rights reserved. Unauthorised copying is aviolation of applicable laws. Made in Lithuania.

All compositions by

Mengelberg | Bell | Carniaux

Dudek | Oetz | Tegen

Amsterdam, Olympiaplein. Monday, December 19th, 2011. I once asked Misha how many steps to his front door and he said: “eleven” – sheer fantasy. I’m here to pick him up for a concert at the Loft in Cologne.


Ten years ago I was waiting in front of the door of room 101 at the Koninklijke Conservatorium; very nervous because I was late and didn’t want to disturb his counterpoint class. I came to play music with him. Coming out of the room, he seemed pretty angry – “Why didn’t you just come in?” He had been sitting there with a student talking about life and such, waiting for this guitar player from Cologne, whom he met at the Ruhrtriennale after a duo-performance with Simon Nabatov. Simon had taken me along and introduced me to Misha. Thanks, Simon. Later, he asked me, „did you study  ounterpoint?” “Not really.” “Come back next week.” From then on I went to Amsterdam every Friday – counterpoint, noise class, coffee, chess, talk. Misha, the counterpoint teacher. He recognized well completed exercises with a “ZOK” (zeer ok). When Misha quit teaching, I started to visit him at home. More coffee, chess, talk, and playing or listening to my bigband collection on 78rpm records (By the way, the conclusion is: nothing beats Ellington).


When Misha was a young boy, his uncle Willem took him to the  Concertgebouw to listen to Ellington’s band. “I always wanted to sound like him, and I think I got pretty close with ICP”, he says. Another love of his is Monk. In the sixties he went to a club to listen to Thelonious. After the concert he went to the piano and played Round Midnight. “He probably thought, what’s this little Dutch ape playing there? He nearly sounds like me.”


My friend, Martin van Leusden, once organized a solo performance with Misha. Arriving at the club, he found the piano totally out of tune and thought about cancelling the show. Misha showed up and sat at the piano, saying: “Oh, what a nice challenge.” “I’ve learned how to save myself”, says Misha. Now, back on December 19th, 2011, I walk up the 22 (or so) steps to his door, we have a cup of coffee toebroek: a personal ritual of his that he performs for his visitors. And off we go to Cologne, to meet the rest of the band at my place – dinnertime.


Ryan Carniaux, from New York, is professor for jazz trumpet in Essen. We’re both members of gRoBA, an orchestra in Cologne. Gerd Dudek, a German jazz-legend, knows Misha for decades.Nils Tegen, a composer and piano player in his other life. Joscha Oetz, back from Lima – when he’s playing the bass, you feel at home. These musicians have been working together for years in numerous combinations all over the world. And we’re all fans of Misha Mengelberg.


The food is great. Let’s talk about music. The concert is sold out. Everything is set up. Now please press the start button to listen to us playing at the Loft, December 20th, 2011, 21.00 hours.


Dirk Bell, Cologne, April 2014