JPN along with Dutch Performing Arts is happy to present two Dutch bands on on multi-date UK tours in the coming month. ICP Orchestra will conduct a 7-date tour across the UK and Ireland, and Kapok a 5-date tour across the UK. To find out when you can see them, check here.

In 1967 saxophonist Willem Breuker, pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink founded the ICP label in Amsterdam. Mengelberg and Bennink had been playing together since 1961 and found success as members of Eric Dolphy’s quartet in 1964, as documented on his live album Last Date. Mengelberg had also been involved in the Fluxus art movement and was developing a composition style that involved musical games. As European free jazz musicians, they were butting up against disinterest in their music from contemporary jazz labels, so they formed a cooperative as a means to release their own recordings. Mengelberg coined the label’s name as a testament to improvisation being composition at the instant that the music is played. ICP’s first records documented Breuker and Bennink’s New Acoustic Swing Duo, and a trio of Mengelberg and Bennink with John Tchicai, whose album was titled Instant Composers Pool.

Breuker left ICP in 1974 to concentrate on his group, the Willem Breuker Collective, and went on to found his own record label, BVHaast. Mengelberg and Bennink intensified their collaboration and, widening their own musical project as the Instant Composers Pool Tentet with saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and cellist Tristan Honsinger. Throughout the 1970s, the ICP label continued to release records, many as co-productions with other European independent labels, including albums by Jeanne Lee, Derek Bailey, Dudu Pukwana, Steve Lacy, Paul Rutherford, Evan Parker, Maarten Altena and Peter Brötzmann. Most of these releases were of limited (and sometimes even numbered) edition and featured a distinctive idiosyncratic graphic design by Bennink.

By the 1980s, the ICP began to recruit younger musicians, as well as classical/new music violinist Mary Oliver. Under Mengelberg’s guidance, the ICP Orchestra made studies of and recorded albums of music by jazz greats Duke Ellington, Herbie Nichols and Thelonious Monk. In the late 1980s and early 90s, ICP members collaborated with members of American post-punk/Indie rock band Sonic Youth and began their long musical career with Dutch experimental punk band The Ex with whom they continue to tour and record with.

In recent years, the ICP label has focused its releases solely on members of the ICP Orchestra, including Wolter Wierbos, Mary Oliver, Tristan Honsinger and Tobias Delius. The label’s earlier vinyl and cassette back catalog had not been issued on CD until the release of the label’s complete catalogue as a 54-disc boxed set to commemorate the ICP’s 45th anniversary in 2012.


Kapok is one of the most recognizable young bands on the Dutch music scene today. The band is known for their rhythmic fireworks and infectious interaction, and for the fierce, unpredictable energy of their live shows. Kapok borrows from many different kinds of music, including funk rock, classical music, free improv and African music – a collection of influences that might sound unlikely, but flows together quite naturally in their music.

The first thing you notice about Kapok is the unusual instrumentation. There is no bass, Remco Menting’s drum kit is one of a kind, and Timon Koomen conjures up colourful sound worlds on his guitar. You might know the French horn as an instrument from the classical tradition, but in the hands of Morris Kliphuis this is quickly forgotten. Kliphuis, one of the few jazz hornists in the world, sings, growls and grooves on his instrument as if it was made for jazz. Onstage, the band interprets every song anew, which means no two concerts are ever alike.

Since their first encounter in the recording studio in 2011, which led to their debut album Flatlands, Kapok has played at many festivals and concert halls in The Netherlands, including twice at the North Sea Jazz Festival. The band also performs internationally, and won the Dutch Jazz Competition in 2012, the European Jazz Competition in 2013, and received an Edison, the Dutch equivalent of a Grammy, for their second album Kapok in 2014.