Just Friends


Bimhuis presents a series of challenging Spring Duets on May 12 & 13. Flophouse spotlights the pairing of trumpeter Jan van Duikeren and drummer John Engels.

Jan van Duikeren (1975) is one of the major Dutch trumpeters. His diverse career includes cooperations with Christian McBride, James Carter, Joshua Redman, Dr. John, Diana Ross, New Cool Collective and Candy Dulfer. Van Duikeren is a mainstay at the acclaimed Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw.

87-year-old John Engels has played with Clifford Brown, Teddy Edwards, Sonny Stitt, Don Byas and many many others. A pioneering Dutch modern jazz drummer, Engels was part of the crackerjack hard bop group The Diamond Five in the late 1950 and early 1960’s, a group that in an unusual turn of events took ownership of the legendary Sheherazade club in Amsterdam. It’s a period that Engels fondly remembers. The drummer also especially cherishes his stint with Chet Baker, documented on one of Baker’s finest albums, Live In Tokyo.

Middle-aged Van Duikeren and veteran Engels have a special rapport. Van Duikeren says: “We have been friends since the 1990’s. It seems that we gel very well on a musical level and share a view on what’s important in jazz music.” Engels is part of the trumpeter’s JVD4, which released Dear John (a title that speaks volumes) in 2016. An excellent album that also features pianist Karel Boehlee and bassist Aram Kersbergen. Take a listen to Chinook, Van Duikeren really tears it up, buoyantly breaking out of the changes.

At the tail end of 2021, Van Duikeren released Short Stories. Here, the JVD4 is embellished by the Metropole string section. It’s a gorgeous, lush ballad record that showcases Van Duikeren’s typically melodic, understated and crystal-clear trumpet. A perfect soundtrack to nocturnal strolls in the big city, there you are, in Paris, Vienna or Amsterdam, along the river that intersperses the bustling center, walkin’ with someone very close to your heart… Great stuff.

Jan van Duikeren & John Engels

Go to Bimhuis here.
Find Short Stories on Zennez here.
Find the vinyl edition of Dear John on Challenge Records here.
Check out Van Duikeren’s website here.

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