Tenor & Alto Madness


Great weeks for fans of real jazz and sax aficionados in The Lowlands. The English tenor saxophonist Alan Skidmore has been touring the country with the trio of pianist Rein de Graaff, bassist Marius Beets and drummer Eric Ineke. Last chance to see this excellent group also including saxophonists Tineke Postma and Benjamin Herman perform is tonight at The Bimhuis, Amsterdam and tomorrow at Tivoli, Utrecht. On March 8 the 78-year old alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, who has been keeping the flame of bebop burning in a most confident, energetic and excellent way, will be playing at The Bimhuis in Amsterdam. Great gig! McPherson will be assisted by pianist Alberto Palau, bassist Daryll Hall and drummer Stephen Keogh.

And on Monday the 5th of March, tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart will be performing at Murphy’s Law in The Hague. The 46-year old, Canada-born Stewart is one of the most prolific saxophonists of mainstream jazz today. He’s a fixture on the NYC scene and has been performing all around the world. Stewart played and recorded with, among others, Jimmy Cobb, Clark Terry, Louis Hayes, Brad Meldau, Larry Goldings and Eric Alexander.

The concert at Murphy’s Law, organized by Equinox Jazz Productions, starts at 21:00. A rare opportunity to hear one of the best in the business in an intimate setting. Stewart is performing with Dan Nicholas on guitar, Kenji Rabson on bass and Wouter Kühne on drums.

Find Murphy’s Law here
Check out Grant Stewart’s website here.

Cook, Book!


Booker Ervin - The Good Book

Acrobat released a 4CD set of Booker Ervin: The Good Book – The Early Years 1960-1962. It is a compilation of performances from Ervin’s debut album The Book Cooks, That’s It and guest appearances on albums by Horace Parlan, Mal Waldron, Teddy Charles and Bill Barron. At the time, the Denison, Texas-born Ervin had just made his mark in the group of Charles Mingus, his forceful, fire and brimstone-style being a big asset on classic albums as, among others, Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots. Ervin was ready to capitalize on his recent exposure through the Mingus association, but regardless of his recording activity life as a freelancer in New York was tough. It turned out that the tenor saxophonist never really gained the public acclaim he deserved.

There are a number of misunderstandings about the life and career of Booker Ervin, a tenor saxophonist adored by legions of classic jazz fans and, to be sure, certainly also derided by some because of his supposedly ‘superficial’ wailing style. For one thing, Booker Ervin is a sincere, passionate and unique saxophonist but not the harmonically advanced Coltranesque musician a number of critics and aficionados believed him to be. The English saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett, who wrote the liner notes to The Good Book, tackles other myths as well about the life and style of Ervin, who died in 1969 at the age of 39. Rarely does the jazz fan encounter such extensive and insightful essays. Spillett has written the definitive account of Ervin’s life and offers a balanced evaluation of his legacy in a booklet that would look far from silly as a separate publication. On the contrary.

The Book Cooks showed Ervin’s potential, That’s It perfectly nails his singular aesthetic. The contrast of his style with Eric Dolphy’s on Mal Waldron’s The Quest is one of the reasons why that album is epic. Acrobat also picked intriguing albums by Bill Barron (Hot Line – The Tenor Of Bill Barron) and Teddy Charles (Metronome Presents Jazz In The Garden At The Museum Of Modern Art), both very collectable LP’s. Hopefully Acrobat will focus on mid-and late career in the future.

Check the Acrobat website here. Buy The Good Book here.

Red Ahooo! (Red 001)


Ahooo! is the buoyant debut album of Red, a groove jazz outfit that swings the ol’American way.

Red - Ahooo!


Ellister van der Molen (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gideon Tazelaar (tenor saxophone), Bob Wijnen (organ), Wouter Kühne (drums)


in 2017 at Studio Smederij


as Red 001 in 2017

Track listing

Mr. Feelgood
Toi Toi Moi
Just What The Doctor Ordered
The Red One
Big “P”

When asked about his style, cellist Tristan Honsinger said, ‘I’m not playing me, I’m playing us.’ A very wise statement. Although she’s in a totally different musical zone, it can be readily applied to Ellister van der Molen. The Dutch trumpeter, engaged in bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, even Dixieland, has a lot working for her, not least a consuming passion for that tradition. She’s part of the group Red, collaborating with her longtime companion from The Hague, pianist/organist Bob Wijnen, tenor saxophonist Gideon Tazelaar and drummer Wouter Kühne. Red presents the kind of accessible, foot-tapping organ combo jazz that was such a prevalent entertaining force in the sixties. Its update for the 21st century is fresh, energetic, a lurid and clever hodgepodge of funky thickness and tart soul jazz uplifting enough to transform any self-respecting couch potato into Swivel Hips. Hey, it’s Mr. Swivel Hips to you.

There’s more to it than just groove. The fluently swinging Van der Molen tune Delegatrix has the trumpeter crossing the Mason-Dixie line to shake hands with the post bop boys of Blue Note in the mid-sixties. Her placing of notes is sparse and intriguing, the ending of her solo an enthusiastic question for Tazelaar to answer. Van der Molen wrote DTR to segue into Stardust. Van der Molen’s crystalline sound topped with a side of huskiness, with tinges of Farmer, Terry, Morgan, is featured in the former, Gideon Tazelaar’s smoky phrases are featured in the latter. They share a sophistication that runs through the whole down-home program, that consists of bashful flagwavers like Van der Molen’s Mr. Feelgood, Wijnen’s The Red One, nifty funk jazz as Van der Molen’s Toi Toi Moi and Wijnen’s Just What The Doctor Ordered.

Jimmy Heath’s Big “P” brings the group into the realm of classic mainstream jazz. Twenty-year old Gideon Tazelaar, dubbed ‘a young man with an old soul’ by the Dutch bop piano master Rein de Graaff, builds a sweeping solo from a sassy entrance and takes part in an upheaving section of simultaneous improvisation with Van der Molen. Wijnen’s statements are precise and audacious, a highlight in an altogether saucy and dynamic rendering of Hammond accompaniment.

Ahooo!, the title track, is an exuberant, funky showstopper. Built on a foundation of rousing figures on the snare drum, the group is rejoicing, like a bunch of old friends out on the weekend. There’s a jubilant aspect to Van der Molen’s style in general, certainly not blood-red, more the red of strawberries and the hearts that kids draw.

Buy Ahooo! here.
Check out Ellister van der Molen’s website here.

Marjorie Barnes & Equinox Brighter Shores (EJP 2017)


Singer Marjorie Barnes couldn’t have asked for a better supporting outfit than Equinox.

Marjorie Barnes & Equinox - Brighter Shores


Marjorie Barnes (vocals), Dan Nicholas (guitar), Simon Rigter (tenor saxophone), Ruud Breuls (trumpet; track 3), Bob Wijnen (piano), Steven Zwanink (bass), Marcel Serierse (drums)


Autumn 2016 a Wedgeview Studios, Woerdense Verlaat, The Netherlands


as EJP 0002 in 2017

Track listing

Let’s Dance
Brighter Shores
Come What May
Throw It Away
Lady Be Good
Little Girl Blue
E.V.’s Berlin Bounce
I’m Glad There’s You
Round And Round
Where And When
Here’s To Life

The American singer first came to The Netherlands in 1975 as a member of soul group The Fifth Dimension and subsequently, while performing as a jazz and Broadway performer around the globe to high acclaim, spent half a lifetime teaching at the conservatories of Hilversum and The Hague. On Brighter Shores, Barnes is supported by guitarist Dan Nicholas, tenor saxophonist Simon Rigter, pianist Bob Wijnen, bassist Steven Zwanink and drummer Marcel Serierse. The self-proclaimed keepers of the flame, products of the Dutch mainstream jazz city #1, The Hague, provide a resonant and occasionally very hardboppish canvas for the classy strokes of Barnes.

For all Brighter Shores’ radio-friendly content, Barnes remains the antithesis of frumpy singing, a survivor-of-the-fittest that won’t shy away frow wailing, groaning or bending notes if a tune calls for streetwise sparks to be added to its smoothly operating flow. The album’s opening tune, a hard-swinging version of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, is a case in point. Nicholas, guitarist, bandleader, arranger and lyricist, builds a sparkling, coherent story in the self-penned title track, Brighter Shores. It’s one of three original Nicholas tunes on the album. His arrangements are uplifting, hip, the driving horn sections of Let’s Dance, (the instrumental) E.V.’s Berlin Bounce and the excellent build-up from the kinetic bass intro to the down-home blues vibe of Abbey Lincoln’s Throw It Away being especially enticing. Simon Rigter’s tenor sax sound and the voice of Barnes are like brother and sister. Rodger & Hart’s Where Or When has Rigter snake-charming Barnes from a shopworn nightclub, the one where a corny thank-you-for-smoking-cardboard-sign hangs loosely on a nail behind the bar.

Thankful and thoughtful feelings abound in Here’s To Life. Marjorie Barnes sings like someone who’s been determined to overcome hard times and cherish the good times, ‘has no complaints, no regrets, I still believe in chasing dreams and playing bets, I learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you got, I’ve had my share, I drank my fill and even though I’m satisfied, I’m hungry still to see what’s down another road, beyond the hill and do it all over again…’.

Come What May expresses similar emotions. Interestingly, before Allee Willis’ song became a hit by Patti LaBelle in 1979, Marjorie Barnes was scouted by Leon Ware to record the tune. Aptly, the lush arrangements of Dan Nicholas are a nod to the arranging job of songwriter and performer Leon Ware for Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, the added, sweet-tart interlude functioning as the icing on the soul-infused cake. Come What May boasts a guest appearance from trumpeter Ruud Breuls, who puts his cushion-soft sound and melodic style to superb use and blends sweetly with Simon Rigter, his longtime hard bop companion, who appears on flute. So the inclusion of Breuls makes Equinox a sextet of outstanding compadres of the experienced leading lady, Marjornie Barnes.

Find info of Marjorie Barnes and Equinox here.

Listen to the album sampler here.

The Equinox Jazz Production documentary Facing The Music about the motivations of Equinox Jazz Production and the singular The Hague scene will be screened at the Marriott in The Hague on February 2. Also that evening, the release of Brighter Shores will be celebrated. Watch the Preview here.

The Last Time He Saw Paris


Reader Toine Metselaar sent this footage of guitarist Grant Green on YouTube. Supposedly, it’s recorded in a TV studio in Paris in 1969. A most welcome addition to the familiar footage of Green, Barney Kessel and Kenny Burrell, performing for the Jazz Scene television show at Ronnie Scott’s, London on December 26, 1969. Both performances are with the rhythm section of Larry Ridley and Don Lamont.

By 1969, Green had had some rough years. The most prolific recording artist of Blue Note in the early and mid sixties, Green – one of those supreme musician’s musicians – nonetheless failed to gain broad public recognition and was at a low ebb. Struggling with drug addiction, Green had also spent some time in jail. However, in December 1969 Green was back on the Blue Note roster. Convinced by his friend, organist Reuben Wilson to focus on funk and popular tunes, Green was featured firstly on Wilson’s superb, well-received Love Bug album including Lee Morgan, George Coleman and Idris Muhammad, and then released his Blue Note comeback album as a leader, Carryin’ On. Love Bug was recorded on March 21, Carryin’ On on October 3. Preceding those albums, Green was also featured on two soul jazz albums of the Prestige label: Rusty Bryant’s Rusty Bryant Returns (February 17) and organist Charles Kynard’s Soul Brotherhood. (March 10) Thus, Green was back at Rudy van Gelder’s famed Englewood Cliffs studio, and desperately seeking recognition.

So Green’s appearance in London (it’s unclear whether Paris was broadcasted) came at the right time. It came about, however, quite by happenstance. As Sharony Andrews Green (Green’s daughter-in-law) tells in her biography of Green, Rediscovering The Forgotton Genius Of Jazz Guitar, Green wasn’t first choice: ‘He was determined to give it one last try. So he did the unthinkable. Realizing he needed an international reputation, he overcame his fear of flying and got on a plane to attend the London Jazz Expo. He shared the stage with Kenny Burrell and Barney Kessel. It was actually a fluke that he even participated. Tal Farlow had been promised as the third man, but Farlow canceled and Grant stepped in. The fact that his name wasn’t advertised on the marque outside made him play “that much harder,” Grant would tell an interviewer.’

To see Green play that much harder as the only soloist in Paris, to witness the master at work for longer than the snippet that has heretofore been available, is something many fans are extremely thankful for, yours truly included. Green, employing his unique single-note line style, horn-like approach and sizzling, singing tone, plays, among others, I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing, (the James Brown tune that is featured on Carryin’ On, the trio setting isn’t really appropriate for funk but it’s a pleasure to see Green play it), Sonny Rollins’ Airegin and Sonnymoon For Two. And note the intense manner in which Green recovers from some loose ends in his beautiful version of a Brazilian tune (Manha de Carnival? Or?) and his fireworks intro and coda of a down-home 12-bar blues excursion.

Only after a rediscovery by break-beating aficionados in Great-Britain in the late eighties and the subsequent re-issues of his Blue Note catalogue, long after Green’s death in 1979, did fame finally came to the indomitable guitarist.

03 Jazz Trio Opening (SedaJazz 2017)


The first thing that comes to mind listening to 03 Jazz Trio’s Opening is that it must be the work of a tight-knit outfit that has been playing together nightly for months.

03 Jazz Trio - Opening


Joan Benavent (tenor saxophone), Matt Baker (bass), Eric Ineke (drums) Voro Garzia (trumpet 6-7), Toni Belenguer (trombone 6-7), Santi Navalon (piano 6-7)


in 2016 in Valencia


as SedaJazz Records DL.V1230 in 2017

Track listing

Sira I Xesca
Danseuses de Delphes
Coffe At The Almost Dead People Place
Speak Low
Grews Tune

That’s not the case. Although the protagonists have been crossing each other’s paths. The Spanish tenor saxophonist Joan Benavent and American bassist Matt Baker both live in Valencia. Dutch master drummer Eric Ineke, also an enthusiastic teacher at music schools and conservatories all around Europe, met Benavent at the Conservatory of The Hague. Subsequently, Benavent invited over Ineke to Valencia’s Seda Jazz school. There, Benavent coupled the drummer with the versatile Matt Baker to form a recording unit for Benavent’s ideas to come to fruition. The men participated in an avant-leaning session (and live performance) that turned out remarkably well.

By his own account inspired by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, hard bop and classical music, there is nothing that suggests Benavent is overreaching. An immaculate and extravert stylist – Benavent searches the extremes of his horn but is neither wild nor aggressive – the big and clear-sounding saxophonist tackles such diverse compositions as Debussy’s Danses De Delphes, Weill/Nash’ Speak Low and Benavent’s post-boppish Opening. This particular ‘opening’ of the program, definitely marked by the ‘Impulse label’ vibe, is something else. The grand, bowed bass opening, loose drum polyrhythm and Benavent’s lyrical yet charged theme immediately works on the emotions, pulling you in the promising universe of the album. Bang! It further develops through the solo of Benavent, whose ‘singing’ tone effectively ices his cake of sheets of sound and staccato playing, via fluent switches of tempo by the trio, subtle interaction of snare drum with sax and bass and a melodic drum intermezzo to the humorous, concise coda in march rhythm. Held together by Benavent’s thematic variation throughout. A royal cake indeed.

Sira i Xesca is a playful and hefty dip into mambo land. Añoranza, a composition by E. Granados, presents a happy marriage between high drama and the smoky tenor atmosphere so typical for classic jazz. The fact that the album’s two mainstream jazz tunes – thoroughly swinging sextet treatments of Speak Low and Mulgrew Miller’s Grews Tune – are snowed under a bit by the album’s front-running setting, speaks volumes about the trio’s skills and passion.

Surely we will see a growth on (relatively) young Benavent’s part in the department of storytelling, perhaps the least imposing aspect of the album, a carefully prepared session that undoubtedly revolves around the controlled fury of Benavent and the trio’s alert interaction. Ineke, elder statesman of hard bop who nonetheless has done his part of ‘far out’ playing during his long career, feels like a fish in the water. Matt Baker, a jack-of-all-hi-level-trades working in the fields of jazz, world, folk and classical music, contributes a forceful tone, melodic, versatile phrasing and exceptional use of the bow.

The tart, touching first part of Debussy’s Danseuses De Delphes is followed up by a meaty drums/tenor battle, the song ending with a blast not unlike one of those surprising thunderous twists in a Mingus performance. The curious but effective mix of vamp and modality of Coffe At The Almost Dead People Place is enticing. Moreover, it’s gutsy and fresh. The whole sum of Opening is just that, made all the more exciting by the sonorous and punchy sound production.

Check out Joan Benavent’s website here.

Herman Schoonderwalt The Winner (NJA 2017)


Herman Schoonderwalt’s album The Winner just sold over a couple of hundred copies in 1964, backed poorly by the Philips label. It has now been re-issued by the Dutch Jazz Archive and has found its proper place among the milestones of Dutch jazz.

NJA, 2017
NJA, 2017


Herman Schoonderwalt (clarinet 1-4, 10, 13, alto saxophone 5-9, soprano saxophone 11, 12), Cees Smal (trumpet, flugelhorn 5-8), Jan Vleeschouwer (trumpet 5-6), Rudy Bos (trombone 5-8), Tony Vos (alto saxophone 5, 6), Rudi Brink (tenor saxophone 5, 6), Harry Verbeke (tenor saxophone 5, 6), Toon van Vliet (tenor saxophone 9), Fred van Ingen (baritone saxophone 5-8), Rob Madna (piano 1-8, 13), Ruud Bos (piano 9), Jan Huydts (piano 10-12), Ruud Jacobs (bass 1-4, 9, 13), Jacques Schols (bass 5-8), Peter Trunk (bass 10-12), (Cees See, drums 1-13)


on December 20, 1963 (13) in Hilversum, May 11 (1,3), April 2 (2,4), April 13 (5-8), 1964 at Phonogram Studio, Hilversum and April 14, 1964 at Cinetone Studio, Duivendrecht and October 11 (10-12) in Hilversum


as NJA 1702 in 2017

Track listing

The Winker
Get Out Of Town
The Winner
I Loves You, Porgy
Ol’ Man River
Speak Low
My Plea
Thema Uit De Film “Mensen Van Morgen”
Visca l’Ampurda
Our Delight

Abeautiful, lighthearted tone on clarinet, a desire to fly off the rail gently or with an edgy twist on alto saxophone. Melodic finesse, sustained momentum and evenly developed sentences. The Dutch jazz audience knows Herman Schoonderwalt (1931-97) as one of the great musicians from the Low Countries. But that his 1964 album The Winner, which was recorded after Schoonderwalt won the Wessel Ilken Prize and has been a treasured collector’s item ever since, is that good will surprise more than a few people.

Schoonderwalt earned most of his money teaching and in show business, like so many European jazz men from the sixties and seventies, although Schoonderwalt did exceptionally well. Notwithstanding his extra-curricular activities, Schoonderwalt left an impression as an top-notch player to this day, a key figure in the influential Hilversum circle of straightforward jazz musicians who also played extensively in Boy Edgar’s Big Band and The Skymasters. The fifth in its series of Treasures Of Dutch Jazz, the Dutch Jazz Archive has done a wonderful job again, from the extensive, insightful liner notes to the remastering of the original master tapes from the Philips/Phonogram vaults. Heard in stereo for the first time, the various groups that Schoonderwalt used for The Winner and the bonus tracks (the icing on the cake consisting of Schoonderwalt and bassist Peter Trunk’s soundtrack to the Dutch movie Mensen Van Morgen as well as Schoonderwalt’s performance of Tadd Dameron’s Our Delight surrounding the festivities of the Wessel Ilken Prize) sound resonant and punchy, a real treat.

Schoonderwalt’s compadres are excellent, responsive. Pianist Rob Madna, drummer Cees See and bassists Ruud Jacobs and Jacques Schols stand out as top European cats, playing tastefully and passionately. And Schoonderwalt rises to the occasion, flowing fluently through, among other tunes, the I Got Rhythm-changes of The Winker, weaving tenderly in and out of the cushion-soft brass and reed sections that arranger Rob Madna provided for the Miles Davis gem Nardis and elevating the old warhorse Ol’ Man River to a probing mid-tempo cooker. Cole Porter’s Get Out Of Town is a highlight, Schoonderwalt’s sensitive and sizzling lines pick up the band for a thoroughly swinging ride and make abundantly clear that he was one of the finest practitioners on clarinet of his day.

A short while ago, just before the official release of The Winner, Flophouse heard alto saxophonist Benjamin Herman play the canny line of The Winker at club Pavlov in The Hague. A nice tip of the hat. Herman will be playing at a celebration of Schoonderwalt and release of The Winner at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis on December 17, which will also feature unseen footage and comments by longtime colleagues Ferdinand Povel, Jan Huydts and Schoonderwalt’s brother Rob. Recognition where recognition is due.

Find the album here.
And info about the December 17 CD Presentation here.