It might come off as arrogant for most artists to include the audience’s gasps and inarticulable praise at the end of the first track of their new live album. But most artists are not Wayne Horvitz, the Seattle-based keyboardist and composer who made his name on the downtown scene with John Zorn in the 1980s. The inclusion of several exclamations and thunderous applause at the conclusion of “Prepaid Funeral,” a momentous number that shakes the ceiling of Amsterdam’s Bimhuis like a giant’s footsteps, serves to underline the towering presence of Horvitz’s European Orchestra and the scope of the music it makes.
Live at the Bimhuis, the first formal recording of Horvitz’s new 12-piece big band—an across-the-pond version of the Seattle-oriented Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble—captures the outfit performing as part of the Bimhuis’ 40th-anniversary series in 2014. That night was only the group’s fourth gig, but here it sounds as vibrant and cohesive as if it were celebrating some milestone year.