Lieb & The Ultimate Sideman


In 2012, Dutch drummer Eric Ineke and saxophonist and flautist David Liebman compiled The Ultimate Sideman, a historical narrative and a discussion of Ineke’s experiences with jazz giants and unsung heroes and Dutch luminaries since the late 1960’s. It was published by Pincio and has come up for sale again at the Dutch Jazz Archive.

A sought-after accompanist, Ineke played with hundreds of visiting jazz artists and fellow Dutchmen including Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Hank Mobley, Clifford Jordan, Lucky Thompson, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Frank Foster, Joe Henderson, Harold Land, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Red Rodney, Jimmy Raney, René Thomas, Piet Noordijk, Charles McPherson, Frank Morgan, Barry Harris, Duke Jordan, Tete Montoliu, Rein de Graaff, Rob Agerbeek, Dave Pike, Ronnie Cuber, Pepper Adams, Curtis Fuller, Buddy DeFranco, Toots Thielemans, Eddie Daniels, Sam Most, Doug Webb, Wynton Marsalis, Jarmo Hoogendijk, Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, Gaël Horellou, Tineke Postma and Jesse Davis. Etcetera.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, visiting Americans looked for the closest thing to real jazz around Europe and most of the time were coupled with Ineke, who has natural swing and amazing historical knowledge of drums and the history of jazz. He’s the ultimate sideman. On many occasions, until recently, he accompanied legends and contemporary jazz artists as part of the trio of semi-retired pianist Rein de Graaff featuring bassists Henk Haverhoek/Koos Serierse/Marius Beets. At the age of 76, he is alive and kicking, mentor to myriad young local and international lions and tireless and beloved ambassador of classic/mainstream jazz. He leads the hard bop group Eric Ineke JazzXpress.

In a way, The Ultimate Sideman is autobiography, the story of a jazz musician who, from the passion for Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Shelly Manne, Billy Higgins, among others, developed a style that suited his personality and who grew into a master drummer from adapting to various styles. He’s a cat that one evening played with Phil Woods, the other with Lee Konitz, George Coleman and Ben Webster, Freddie Hubbard and Chet Baker. A great challenge to meet.

During the course of his story and discussion, Ineke recurrently says, “As a drummer, you have to take care of that, otherwise…” He knew all about the time of the players, the sound, the timbre, the dynamics. And if necessary, Ineke did a lot of homework before the gig. True professional.

Though Ineke and Liebman had jammed together in Pescara, Italy in 1973, they finally befriended in the early 1990’s, when they met through The International Association of Schools of Jazz, which was founded by Liebman in 1987. They played together on albums on the Daybreak subsidiary of Challenge Records. As the website of the famous Miles Davis and Elvin Jones-alumnus states, “Eric was and still is THE man for putting a great straightahead rhythm section together for visiting artists in that part of Europe.” Very true. What’s more, the records with Liebman demonstrate that he is an exceptional and spontaneous interactor in a challenging environment. It shouldn’t be surprising, since he also worked with avant-leaning groups as the Rein de Graaff/Dick Vennik Quartet and Free Fair in the 1970s and 1980s. (Note: Ineke also flawlessly connects with the other extreme, occasionally sitting in with dixie and swing bands in café Murphy’s Law in his hometown The Hague)

The “Lieb” albums also feature bassist Marius Beets and, on separate albums, saxophonist and clarinetist John Ruocco, guitarist Jesse van Ruller and pianist Marc van Roon. Is Seeing Believing features guitarist Ricardo Pinheiro, among others. Top-rate, expressive albums. About time for another musical meeting between Lieb and The Ultimate Sideman, don’t you think?

Eric Ineke & David Liebman

Find The Ultimate Sideman at Nederlands Jazz Archief here.

Eric Ineke - The Ultimate Sideman

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