In his video, Solo, Dutch phenomenon Han Bennink does things no drummer has ever done in any performance, much less on video. Han ties ropes around a drumset and then crashes the drums and cymbals together like dominoes spinning in a percussion blender. He plays a bird whistle while sticking it between the cymbals of a hi-hat. He makes art from broken drumheads. He plays the drums with wooden clogs. He plays a chair, he plays a cardboard box. He screams, he growls, he covers the drums in white cloth and walks away.
Since the early ’60s, Han Bennink has been making unclassifiable, uncategorizable jazz, incorporating Dixieland, bop, straight-ahead, and an entirely original strain of free jazz.
Bennink began playing drums in his teens under the tutelage of his father, a classical percussionist. By the ’60s, Han was backing visiting American musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Johnny Griffin, and Eric Dolphy. His exemplary musicality and often shocking creativity have graced records by international musicians such as Steve Lacy, Don Cherry, William Breuker, Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, John Tchicai, Fred van Hove, and The Globe Unity Orchestra.