The Dutch Hobby Orchestra Our Time (NJA 2023)


The times they were-a-changin’ and weren’t in favor of the mainstream Hobby Orchestra. The recordings of this excellent Dutch orchestra seemed lost forever until they were retrieved by the indomitable Dutch Jazz Archive. Our Time is their lasting achievement.

The Dutch Hobby Orchestra - Our Time


Frans Mijts, Jaap Leben, Eddy Engels John Bannet & Fons Diercks (trumpet), Cees Smal (trombone, valve trombone), Rudy Bosch, Bertil Peereboom Voller (trombone), Erik van Lier (bass trombone), Herman Schoonderwalt & Tony Vos (alto saxophone, clarinet), Piet Noordijk (alto saxophone), Sander Sprong & Ferdinand Povel (tenor saxophone), Joop Mastenbroek (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone), Frans Elsen (piano), Joop Scholten (guitar), Rob Langereis (bass), Evert Overweg (drums)


in 1967-68 at Soundpush Studio, Blaricum and VARA Studio, Hilversum


as NJA 2301 in 2023

Track listing

Bright Moment
In Some Way
Our Time
Twenty-Four And More
Ballad For Ed
The Challenger
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
Last Moment
Bluesy Joe
No Tricks
Sweet And Lovely
Hobby Music

Now that the stark-naked roller-skater, who wore nothing except a string, summer, winter, day or night, has passed away, Amsterdam has to make do with the remaining eccentric sights of flesh and blood. Coincidentally, I saw one of those attractions last week. This guy with a guitar on his back, who always approaches everybody with harmless but unsolicited and mildly annoying love and peace slogans, stopped at the same red light and approached me with increasingly bewildering flower power gibberish. A clear case of burned-out hippie-hood.

As time goes by, this species becomes rare and ultimately extinct, like the dodo. 1967 is a long time ago. The place was crawling with hippies. Rebellion was in the air. Robert Jasper Grootveld organized socially critical happenings in the mid-sixties. The anarchic Provo movement joined forces in 1966. In the wake of American and French academy riots, students occupied the university office Maagdenhuis in Amsterdam in 1969. The Byrds, Pink Floyd, Santana and Jefferson Airplane played at the Dutch equivalent of Woodstock, the Kralingen festival, in Rotterdam in 1970.

Although we have to be careful to carve definitions of the sixties in stone on the strength of a few symbols and admit that other factors have been at play, notably a diplomatic but evident willingness to meet progressive wishes from the establishment, as the Holland-based professor James Kennedy has pointed out convincingly in his standard work Nieuw Babylon In Aanbouw from 1995, something, admittedly, was definitely brewing. Most of the time, the brewing came in the guise of a capsule of LSD that was dropped in a glass of lemonade. The recipient proceeded to be far out baby, look through a glass onion and experience a vision that involved getting rich from the future invention of a beverage called Gatorade.

As usual, jazz was in a flux. Guiding light John Coltrane had passed away in 1967, there was a steady stream of avant-garde jazz and rock jazz was on the rise. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis was the game-changer of 1970. Times were rough for straightforward jazz artists. In The Netherlands, much to the chagrin of those artists, most critics favored free jazz over mainstream jazz, the start of a schism between tradition and impro that lasted for decades.

Acclaimed musicians like Piet Noordijk, Herman Schoonderwalt, Tony Vos, Cees Kranenburg, Ack van Rooyen, Erik van Lier and Ado Broodboom took all the work they could get in various orchestras while trying to succeed in small real jazz ensembles or working abroad. Altoist Piet Noordijk had made his mark with the Misja Mengelberg Quartet, trumpeter and valve trombonist Cees Smal was part of the pioneering hard bop outfit The Diamond Five. Both filled the ranks of the Boy Edgar Big Band, led by the charismatic and legendary chaotic bandleader/doctor Boy Edgar.

Musicians had grown dissatisfied with the course that the Boy Edgar Big Band had taken since the avant-leaning Theo Loevendie had been at the helm. Besides, they had a strong desire to swing their thing after the gruelling schedules at the studio were fulfilled. A hardcore big band was founded from those ranks when trumpeter Frans Mijts had gotten the opportunity to manage the newfound state-of-the-art Soundpush studio in Blaricum in the summer of 1966. On good terms with Schoonderwalt, Smal and pianist Frans Elsen (not a member of Edgar’s band), who all had expressed a desire to start an orchestra, Mijts invited their band to rehearse at Soundpush and played lead trumpet himself.

The orchestra rehearsed relentlessly at night and developed into a tight-knit unit under the arranging leadership of Elsen, Rob Madna, Smal and, finally, Rogier van Otterloo. It only performed live a few times and a record deal that was discussed with the German MPS label unfortunately failed to materialize. The Hobby Orkest (at first the orchestra was nameless but after a headline in a magazine article talked about a so-called ‘hobby orchestra’ because the musicians were playing purely for their own pleasure, it became known under this monicker) supported Hank Mobley in 1967, the sole big band recording of the famed tenor player, which is featured on the Dutch Jazz Archive release Hank In Holland.

Besides top-notch performers, Elsen, Smal and Schoonderwalt were excellent tunesmiths. Their best songs are Elsen’s sweeping melody Bright Moment and Schoonderwalt’s modal-tinged burner Perka while Rogier van Otterloo provided the cinematic Hobby Music and In Some Way, all dynamic arrangements and the latter benefiting from a flexible and rousing solo by Schoonderwalt. All tunes feature fine solos, not least the lovely Ballad For Ed, which highlights the beautiful, quicksilver and forthright trumpet stylings of Eddy Engels. Throughout, upcoming tenor player Ferdinand Povel convincingly speaks his piece and Frans Elsen is about the hippest of bop and modern jazz pianists around at that time.

While funk jazz and slow blues is not this band’s forte, the orchestra turns standard Sweet And Lovely into a multi-layered tour de force. It’s a great arrangement that slyly makes use of a change of rhythm, pace and volume and a fully engaging eleven minutes that inspires these gentlemen to blow like soldiers that dart through the inner-city streets on weekend leave. Modernized Basie swing comes in the form of Twenty-Four And More, performed before a live audience in the studio in 1968, a clearly inspiring atmosphere, not least to the legendary Piet Noordijk, who makes the roaring most of his minute or so in the spotlight.

For various reasons, the band fell apart in 1970. A short-lived reunion took place between the tail ends of 1973 and 1974. World affairs like the Watergate scandal took the spotlight, Johan Cruijff and the Dutch soccer team wrote sports history with ‘total football’. In jazzland, it so happened that the tapes of these recordings were either erased or consisting of unfinished pieces. Thanks to the Dutch Jazz Archive and the Frans Mijts Estate, at least we can enjoy a major chapter in Dutch and European big band history of the sixties.

The Dutch Hobby Orchestra

Find Our Time here.

Check out wonderful footage from the band on YouTube here. Put up four years ago by DJA producer Frank Jochemsen, you’ll hear Schoonderwalt, Smal and Elsen explain (in Dutch) their motivations and see them perform Bright Moments featuring tenor saxophonist Ferdinand Povel.

knimes trio pt.1 (Envelope 2023)


Three different nationalities speak one language of progressive jazz.

knimes trio - pt.1


knimes (Matthijs de Ridder, drums), Hue Blanes (piano), Ignacio Santoro (bass)


on October 29 & 30, 2022 at Moon Music


as Envelope 003 in 2023

Track listing

Monday June 13th
Andrew’s Hill
Waltz For Gloria

Better get to steppin’ because the sophomore effort of knimes acoustic group is available in a limited edition of 150 items. knimes is Dutch drummer Matthijs de Ridder and pt.1 is the follow-up to vinyl release Adventures In Improvised Music from 2021. This time, knimes limits himself to the trio and CD format.

At 37 minutes (more or less, more about this later…), it’s short but sweet. Good for us, we’re fed up with albums of 60 minutes or more that, well-intentioned they may be, leave us picking our noses in Poughkeepsie and staring into the cracks of the ceiling at a crawling spider and wondering why the roof the roof the roof is on fire while all that’s happened is our brain’s fried from being exposed to the music of Kenny G. at the tender age of 3 and a half. Short is fine, as long as the repertoire is strong, and the tunes by knimes likely will have your stamp of approval.

The trio goes modal, swings free and moves into territory that was pioneered long ago by the progressive jazz masters, presenting their own original and fervent take on it. They add a little turpentine over hotbeds of post-bop, create moods that work as the musical equivalent of film noir and make us hum along with an uplifting melody or two. The title of Andrew’s Hill suggests where part of the trio’s inspiration stems from.

The tight-knit playing of knimes trio, solid bass by Argentinian Ignacio Santoro mixing with De Ridder’s strong-willed drums, shouldn’t come as a surprise, since here’s a working group that leads many a jam session evening at café Bebop in Delft. Australia-born Hue Blanes is a capricious pianist with a strong toucher. Never extravagantly loud, accurate but flexible, he’s somewhat the star gymnast that suddenly strays from his program on the balance beam and improvises surprising sidesteps and jumps.

This little album sounds awfully good, likely the result of knimes being a producer as well. This holds true for the bonustrack, which reveals itself when the last notes and dancing spiders have passed away. It’s a hip blend of hip hop and jazz, which for the occasion, and in sync with the likes of The Philadelphia Experiment, we will dub The Hague Experiment in honor of the jazz hub where these cats ran into each other. Running time has been stretched to approximately 43 minutes, Standard Long Player Time, which fits this interesting ‘neo post-bop’ trio like a glove.

knimes trio

Find pt.1 here.

Enrico LeNoci Common Ground (ZenneZ 2023)


Young LeNoci modernizes that good ol’ jazz guitar style in his own fashion.

Enrico LeNoci - Common Ground


Enrico LeNoci (guitar), Pietro Mirabassi (tenor saxophone), Arno Krijger (drums), Eric Ineke (drums)


in 2022 at De Smederij, Zeist


as ZenneZ 2023013 in 2023

Track listing

Pied Fries
Arjun’s Blues
In The House
Common Ground
Night Fears
Small Changes

Guitar players are an endearingly wacky lot. They are crazy about their iconic wooden toy, which replaced the saxophone as the lead instrument of popular music in the fifties and never looked back. I remember John Scofield telling me that he regarded himself as a guitarist first and foremost. (“My roots are the blues and Cream, I didn’t start off with bebop.”)

Enrico LeNoci, whom fellow Italian jazzers may soon dub “il nostre uomo a Den Haag”, is a guitarist that oozes the jazz feeling from the golden age of mainstream jazz. At the same time though, there is ample evidence of a passion for blues and blues rock. His debut album features veteran drummer Eric Ineke, mentor of generations of Hague students, penultimate sideman that played with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin and Chet Baker, among countless others. Ace organist Arno Krijger and tenor saxophonist Pietro Mirabasi complete the line-up.

Sprightly hard bop tunes are marked by the juicy sax of Mirabassi and sassy playing by LeNoci. In The House is sweet as honey, a string of melody lines that are as charming as the solos are enchanting. It has LeNoci replacing sassiness for tender and thoughtful romanticizing. Keys is comprised of fluid lines that bite each other’s tails, as if one hears Jimmy Raney working on a tune with Atilla Zoller, discussing various keys. The beautifully paced solo by Krijger steals the show. Here’s a band that fluently shifts through lanes, not least because of chauffeur Eric Ineke, either burning rubber or honking horns to keep everybody on his toes or gently cruising the crew back home.

Sleazily bended notes, tad of Sco’, pinch of Robben Ford even. These are facets of Arjun’s Blues and Night Fears. They won’t earn LeNoci a place in the Blues Hall of Fame but are fine additions of a promising real jazz debut.

Enrico LeNoci

Find Common Ground here.

This spring also finds LeNoci releasing his trio album Electric Nuts.

Arbenz/Krijger/Osby Conversations #9: Targeted (SR-9)


Ain’t no jive talkin’.

Arbenz:Krijger:Osby - Targeted


Florian Arbenz (drums, percussion), Greg Osby (alto saxophone, soprano saxophone), Arno Krijger (organ)


on May 1, 2022 at Hammer Studios, Basel


as SR-9 in 2023

Track listing

Freedom Jazz Dance
Sleeping Mountain
Vertical Hold
Seven Steps To Heaven
I Loves You Porgy
Old Shaman

Florian Arbenz knows very well that the DANCE part of the title of Eddie Harris’s signature tune Freedom Jazz Dance was not a random but deliberate choice, as much so as FREEDOM. Up until now, we have enjoyed nine versions by the Swiss drummer, three to go. It is included on each of Arbenz’s twelve-part Conversations series of albums with musicians of all creeds and scenes. A wondrous, hilariously ambitious and multifaceted project that to date has delighted many jazzophiles, more so since Conversations is also released on vinyl. Each version of Harris’s freewheeling groove anthem is marked by original rhythmic and harmonic discoveries.

Yet again, on #9: Targeted featuring longtime Arbenz collaborator Greg Osby and Dutch Hammond organist Arno Krijger, Arbenz offers an interesting interpretation. Before the Basel-based percussionist commences with his muscular, layered jazz rock groove, Osby vigorously introduces the triangle of freedom, jazz and dance on soprano sax, picking up a short while later during their greasy excursion into Harrisland with hi-octane jumps on, over and right through the fence. Krijger follows suit and, free as a bird and freed from ch-ch-changes, oozes liberating energy.

Sure enough, Victor Feldman’s Seven Steps To Heaven (remember Lonnie Smith’s version?) kicks it up a notch. Like companion piece Freedom Jazz Dance, it is cut and deboned like an ox and subsequently the meat is seasoned and grilled, bon appetit. A classy case of deconstruction and rebuilding. Gritty and crunchy, it merits definition as neo-Tony Williams Lifetime-ish. (Remember Emergency?) Once more, it features an appropriate introduction, here in the form of West-African-tinged percussion. In fine and fiery form, Krijger cuts loose and performs his album highlight.

Throughout, the prolific organist is an incisive storyteller and sound wizard, his mind constantly focusing on the big picture. Acclaimed in Europe, it should be only a matter of time until his prowess is equally valued by American aficionados.

Dreamy and fairylike, Arbenz’s Sleepy Mountain sets the alarm at half past six, so you can just stay still and doze. Elves are awakened by Osby’s flexible alto sax story, which resembles the flight of the eagle, the sound of the flapping of its wings echoing and carrying across green and foggy hills. The extremely tranquil take on Gershwin’s I Loves You Porgy (remember Miles Davis famously covering no less than 3 tunes included here?) focuses on Osby’s hushed soprano playing. The sanding of his tone and the backdrop of Krijger’s eerie David Lynch slash John Carpenter-sounds make it all the more poignant.

Listening to #9: Targeted, one gets the distinct feeling that the rapport of this intriguing ‘organ’ trio is such that they would come up with something original and spontaneous by every new visit to the studio. Or live stage, a situation that is eagerly awaited.


Find Conversations #9: Targeted here.

D.B. Blues


Promising Czech keyboardist works on his career from location Rotterdam.

It pays to wander off Main Street and take side streets and alleys. I was not familiar with Daniel Bulatkin but visited a performance of his organ trio at café De Twee Spieghels in Leiden, The Netherlands – this was where Ben Webster played the last show of his life. A funky soul jazz set, tinged with some hip modern jazz burners.

In conversation, the Czech keyboard player modestly stated that he still feels himself to be a “beginner on the Hammond organ”, regarding Larry Goldings and Brian Charette (who provided him with tips) as the modern B3 giants.

It turned out that young Bulatkin, who studies at Codarts in Rotterdam and cooperated with saxophonist Tineke Postma and drummer Gary Husband among others, has ambitiously been exploring different terrains. The New Beginning (2020) from his former band B/Y Organism with guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Kyrill Yakovlev (duduk! balalaika!) is a wildly diverse and layered world fusion album. Bulatkin plays piano, synth, Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ. His convincing and challenging organ lines bring to mind the aural canvases that were laid out long ago by the likes of Joe Zawinul and Doug Carn.

Bulatkin currently leads the Daniel Bulatkin Cinematic Ensemble, which combines jazz and strings. Furthermore, he produced and played piano and keyboard on American singer Allison Wheeler’s Winterspring. (2022) A highly recommended album that links strong compositions and solo statements to a – partly overdubbed – voice and delivery that puts Sandy Denny, Kate Bush, Blossom Dearie and Joni Mitchell in one original brand new bag. Beautiful album.

So you can see that versatile Daniel Bulatkin has been involved in a number of high-level affairs. Very talented cat.

Daniel Bulatkin

Find Winterspring here.
Check out Daniel’s website here.

Talking To Myself


Equally energetic as his late father, Patrick Manzecchi asserts himself in a solo setting.

Feelings of desperation were palpable during the pandemic. There you are, suddenly on your own. Yes, modern technology allows you to play in realtime with a bassist in Tirana or Baltimore or Kyoto. It’s cool but it’s different. Life’s a struggle, then again the serenity of the lockdown is inspiring and you get fresh ideas… like drummer Patrick Manzecchi, whose passion for drums remained undimmed and who recorded various rhythms all by himself, hence the title of his new album: Talking To Myself.

It’s a collection of titles as Challenge, Memories, Conflict, Patience and Gratitude, as Manzecchi explains in the booklet, insights and perspectives… ranging from doubts and conflicts to love and peace… By no means an ego trip, Manzecchi instead explores concise beats, variating with dynamics and colors and including bells and even toys. He knows the meaning of space. By its very nature, Talking To Myself is an acquired taste, which can’t be said of Rectilinear from 2016, Manzecchi’s trio session with pianist Richie Beirach and bassist Jens Loh. Pre-Covid spirited post-bop that includes hi-octane interpretations of Nardis and All Blues and a couple of suave original compositions.

Konstanz-based Manzecchi cooperated with Barry Harris, Teddy Edwards, Sheila Jordan, Scott Hamilton, Gary Smulyan and Bobby Watson to name a few. He is the son of Franco Manzecchi, who played with Chet Baker, Eric Dolphy, Clark Terry, Lou Bennett, René Thomas and many others. It’s all in the family. Patrick dedicated Talking To Myself to his father, who passed away in 1979. Perhaps talking to himself invariably means talking with his great drummer dad as well.

Patrick Manzecchi

Find Talking To Myself here.
Check out Patrick’s website here.

Rob van Bavel & Joris Teepe Dutch Connection (The Uploaders 2023)


Middle age fails to slow down two Dutch jazz heavyweights.

Rob van Bavel & Joris Teepe - Dutch Connection


Rob van Bavel (piano), Joris Teepe (bass)


on December 28, 2021 in Roelofarendsveen


as Sena in 2023

Track listing

A Summer’s Day
The Left Side
In April
Con Edison
I’m Old Fashioned
Malcolm’s Minuet
Remember The Time
Steepian Faith
Take The A-Train
Little Felix
Star Eyes

Dutchmen Rob van Bavel and Joris Teepe have been frequent collaborators since the late 1980’s and are as prolific as ever. To-go-to pianist Van Bavel was a member of the sterling Jarmo Hoogendijk/Ben van den Dungen Quintet and played with Woody Shaw and Randy Brecker. He divides time between solo projects, hard bop group Eric Ineke Xpress and duets with his piano-playing son Sebastiaan. Without a doubt, Teepe is the most successful musician from The Netherlands in New York City and has been bassist-of-choice for Benny Golson, Billy Hart, Dave Liebman, Bill Evans and Rashied Ali. A strong presence in the New York scene since the early 1990’s, Teepe regularly brings American players to Groningen in his role as head of jazz studies at the conservatory.

A logical extension of their live stream performances during the lockdown in 2020, Dutch Connection is part of a great tradition of piano and bass records. Duke/Ray Brown, Kenny Drew/NHOP and Rein de Graaff/Koos Serierse come to mind. Van Bavel and Teepe convincingly hold their own and engage in sympathetic interaction. They remind of dolphins that jump from the water in unison – when one has drifted away from the other they have perfect knowledge of each other’s location and sublimely sense how to reach it.

Their set of original compositions from the Teepe and Van Bavel book and standards as Star Eyes, I’m Old Fashioned and Take The A-Train (more like a Carribean local train) is thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll savor the strong and warm bass sound of Teepe, who during his smooth accompaniment permits himself myriad harmonic twists and turns, the kind of freedom in confinement that comes with age and experience. There’s plenty to dig solo-wise, not least Teepe’s moody storytelling of his ballad The Left Side. It also is rather striking how he eagerly shifts from subtle underscores to the leading role of Van Bavel’s Angel Eyes-ish In April.

Teepe’s Joriscope offers Van Bavel the opportunity to kick into fourth gear. His firm and richly layered chords are like green mountain hills, his bundles of single notes are like gulf streams and waterfalls and geysers. Like pioneering giant McCoy Tyner, he maintains his equilibrium throughout, speaking of which, let’s not hesitate to conclude that in McCoy’s tradition in Europe, Van Bavel is without peer. On the other end of the spectrum, Malcolm’s Minuet is a lovely reflection of Van Bavel’s baroque-infused style.

In short, flawless and highly recommended.

Rob van Bavel & Joris Teepe

Find Dutch Connection here.

Check out Rob & Joris at the following venues:

Feb 18: Theater Mascini, Amsterdam
Feb 19: Porgy & Bess, Terneuzen
Feb 20: Jazz In De Kamer, Leiden
May 18: Jazzy Huiskamers, Den Bosch
May 27: KCA, Aalsmeer
Nov 26: Plofhuis 7, Weesp