Alexander Beets Big Sounds (Maxanter 2021)


Beets blows hot and husky.

Alexander Beets - Big Sounds


Alexander Beets (tenor saxophone), Ellister van der Molen (trumpet #1, 2, 6, 7, 10 & 11), Miguel Rodriguez (piano #1, 2, 6, 7, 10 & 11), Sebastiaan van Bavel (piano #3-5, 8 & 9), Marius Beets (bass), Tim Hennekes (drums #1, 2, 6, 7, 10 & 11), Sven Rozier (drums #3-5, 8 & 9)


on December 28 & 29, 2020 and March 25, 2021 at Studio Smederij, Zeist


as Maxanter 74618 in 2021

Track listing

Blues For The Legends
Brother Hank
A Love That Never Ends
Here’s That Rainy Day
The Look Of Love
A Night That Lasts Forever
June Bug
I Love You
The Man I Love
What Happened To The Days

You can’t be like Gene Ammons, Ike Quebec, Stanley Turrentine, Hank Mobley, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Ben Webster for the simple fact that the styles of these classic tenor men reflected their times. Their styles reflected times fraught with racism and segregation and brimming with the joyful catharsis of the blues; on a more prosaic note, were born of rowdy bars and sleazy BBQ joints and union scale and the occasional jail sentence. They were the underground.

But you can get inspired by them and transform your passion into a personal voice. This is the prerequisite for a successful straightforward jazz endeavor, which by nature isn’t progressive but nonetheless valid. All around the world, fans enjoy good-time live jazz entertainment. Besides, who is going to learn youngsters where jazz comes from if no one plays the standards and the blues? Perhaps it was this sentiment that prompted Beets to byline the title of his latest record, Big Sounds, with “forgotten tenor heroes of the past”.

There’s no doubt that Alexander Beets has found a personal voice and while Big Sounds isn’t treading new ground, it is a thoroughly entertaining set of standards and original blues and hard bop compositions.

Beets is brother of acclaimed bassist Marius and renowned pianist Peter. An interview from the three brothers with Jazz Nu way back in January 1996 gives a clue about Beets’s pragmatic outlook. The article describes the work of the Ph.D business science as the band’s PR representative. “First and foremost, I’m a musician and consequently look at the industry as an artist, but that takes nothing away from the fact that I love it when my car is gassed up.”

Beets is both tenor saxophonist and jazz organizer. He holds various managerial positions and is currently the director of the Amersfoort World Jazz Festival. You can see him jammin’ after hours with the festival’s finest in his typically down-to-earth style.

(From l. to r.; Beets Brothers, Marius, Peter and Alexander; Beets and Judith Nijland; New York Round Midnight Orchestra, Rolf Delfos, Ellister van der Molen, Ben van der Dungen and Alexander Beets)

On record, Beets sounds similar as on stage, no pyrotechnics, but bluesy and fluent, with plenty of dirty, husky, honked and wailed asides. He uses the archetypical quintet format, including the always excellent, sweet-tart trumpeter Ellister van der Molen, thoroughly swinging pianist Miquel Rodriguez and crisp drummer Tim Hennekes, for a lively set of soul jazz and hard bop. The boogaloo of Diplodocus and classic Blue Note-ish What Happened In The Days are especially sparkling.

Ballads find him in relatively smoother mode, underlined by young pianist Sebastiaan van Bavel, whose melancholy chords and light toucher provide the backdrop to, among others, Here’s That Rainy Day and The Man I Love.

Different strokes for different folks, which works just fine, as the in-your-face tenor sax of Beets is the common thread. As far as sax goes, arguably the stop-time, r&b-drenched Brother Hank is homage not only to Mobley but, perhaps unintentionally and subconsciously, to Hank Crawford, who predominantly shone on alto and bari. After all, the sweeping A Night That Lasts Forever also oozes the soul of the late great saxophonist and musical director of the Ray Charles band. Either way, examples of sincere and uplifting straight-ahead jazz.

Find Big Sounds at Maxanter.

Photography: Karin van Gilst

The Night Trippers

Trumpeter Ellister van der Molen finally fulfilled her dream of visiting the prominent cradle of jazz, New Orleans. “Being in the jazz business may equate with blood, sweat and tears but it remains a privilege to be a musician, travel some place and fit right in. Especially in New Orleans.”

As the controversial country star-turned-hilarious-mystery-writer Kinky Friedman said about the dead New Yorker: “He’s not really dead, he’s just currently working on another project.” A similar thing could be said about the New Orleanian. His funeral may seem your trial but the next thing you know he’s dancing on the ceiling of his casket.

New Orleans is rhythm, movement, jubilation. In New Orleans, they don’t play a certain genre, they make music. The melting pot of New Orleans has fascinated myriad musicians and music lovers, not least Dutch trumpeter Ellister van der Molen. Last year, Van der Molen and her long-time jazz buddy, pianist and organist Bob Wijnen, spent an exciting week in The Big Easy. NOLA, sophomore effort of their band RED, which also features tenor saxophonist Gideon Tazelaar and drummer Wouter Kühne, was presented on November 28. NOLA comes as a stylish EP-sized book of drawings by Quirine Reijman and includes a hi-res download of the album that was recorded in front of a small live audience at Muziekomroep in Hilversum by Sound Liasion with one mike, which gives it an incredibly transparant and lively analog vibe. The process brings to mind the pioneering “live at the studio club” recordings of Cannonball Adderley. NOLA is an enchanting evocation of New Orleans music culture. Read the review here.

The Hague is the appropriate meeting point for Van der Molen. More specifically, her practice space in the MOOOF building, where she is at ease amidst an off-white grand piano, keyboard and drum kit and original sketches of NOLA’s artwork. And lest we forget, her trumpet and flugelhorn. Too bad the building is turned over to project developers, who will make it into an apartment block of a brand-new yuppie quarter and see to it that every artist has left the premises at the end of this already troublesome year. Van der Molen was born in The Hague and auditioned at the talent faculty of the Conservatory at age 10, playing Moanin’ in duet with her father. Van der Molen chuckles: “I passed on one condition: that I promised not to play jazz anymore!”

She made her mark as a young, prizewinning talent of classical music but after a frustrating period of embouchure problems returned to her first love of jazz under the wings of Hague staples as Simon Rigter and Eric Ineke. She’s a big fan of legends as Clifford Brown, Miles Davis and her mentor Ack van Rooyen. The residential city’s long-standing reputation as (Hard) Bop City #1 has not been lost on Van der Molen. “Evidently, the cliché of The Hague as the mainstream jazz epicenter is the truth. But we shouldn’t forget that it harbors a lot of artists that perform in other styles as well, such as Wolfert Brederode, who is an ECM recording artist. By the way, recently I was featured on The Hague Songbook Exchange on the Challenge label, which linked jazz and electronic artists from The Hague, having them play each other’s compositions. It finds me dangerously close to free form.”

(Clockwise from l. to r: RED: Ellister van der Molen, Gideon Tazelaar, Wouter Kühne and Bob Wijnen; NOLA – Sound Liaison 2020; Ahooo! – RED 2018)

She speaks warmly of life in her hometown. The subject of New Orleans puts a similar twinkle in her eyes. “I had a couple of new projects on my mind; Latin boogaloo and the culture of New Orleans, which I had never been to before. As it happens, the audiophile label Sound Liaison gave me a call, asking if I had any plans, which kind of won me over. I always wanted to go to New Orleans because of its jazz history and its major jazz legends. Teaming up with Bob was perfect. To be honest, I hesitated about traveling down there as a woman on my own. Bob is half-blind, thus would most likely neither gamble on going single. We’ve known each other for so long and are like twins.”

Van der Molen and Wijnen were quick off the mark. “There’s this weekly magazine, Off Beat, which announces every gig in town. We were in New Orleans in November 2019. There’s live music 24/7, mostly concentrated in two or three streets, predominantly Frenchman Street. We saw drummer Herlin Riley at Snug Harbor. We sat in with Delfeayo Marsalis and his big band. And we played with the legendary local hero, drummer Johnny Vidacovich at the Maple Leaf. We went to jam sessions. In New Orleans, it’s rude to refuse to sit in. They’ll say: ‘You play trumpet? Alright, play!’ Of course, there’s the second line of the brass bands, which usually are not announced. You find yourself on a street where everybody is movin’ and groovin’ and dancin’. It starts pleasantly but after a while things tend to turn shady, with joints and booze and such, which usually is the moment to grab a cab to a better neighborhood. Evidently, there’s still a lot of poverty.”

Hurricane Katrina was not only a human disaster but also a blow to cultural life for the simple fact that many musicians were evacuated. But the musical pulse, if anything a message of resilience and hope in the black community, never completely faltered and post-Katrina gradually regained steam. “New Orleans music remains a strange and exhilarating brew. You have brass bands, traditional NO music, dance music, blues, funk, jazz. I have the impression that there’s a lot of overlap. Musicians do not stick to one genre but play in different bands. That’s probably because they have affinity with the tradition, otherwise they would not have been in New Orleans. Without giving a moral judgment, this is opposite to the suit-tie-handclap-tradition and pigeonholes of Europe and New York. In New Orleans everyone mingles. It is a very lively scene.”

Clockwise from l. to r: It Ain’t My Fault; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; Ahooo!)

Van der Molen, a levelheaded woman who sells a minimum of poker-faced funny asides for maximum effect, a balanced and expressive trumpeter and flugelhorn player who emotes with warmth and the profound sound of apricot, peach, tangerine, thoughtfully reflects on NOLA’s list of songs that she picked and arranged in cooperation with Wijnen. “No New Orleans album would be complete without Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, The Meters. We wanted to alternate between straightforward interpretations and more transformative stuff. For me, playing along the structure of the fanfare, this good old-fashioned route of theme, middle-section, modulation, theme and coda paradoxically was very liberating. On the other hand, we re-imagined traditionals like Just A Closer Walk With Me. Our altered chords move along that song’s unique ascending bass line. We were worried if it might be too far-fetched. It turned out alright? Thanks. Then there’s Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me, with the literal chord sequence but a change of rhythm. We were not familiar with It Ain’t My Fault. Everybody was playing it, night after night. Apparently, this tune of drummer Smokey Johnson, one of the legendary local heroes, is a Mardi Gras hit. This kind of summed up the trip for me.”

“You’ll notice, at the end of the booklet, there’s a drawing of a cab driver. That is a reflection of my original composition Ahooo! – which is sort of my own way of saying ‘see you later!’ – and our homebound trip to the airport. We were just chatting with the taxi driver and asked if he played music as well. ‘Yeah’, he said, ‘I rap.’ So we said, ‘Won’t you please let us hear something?!’ Off he went into a supple free style flow on a beat from his deck. I really love the image Quirine made from our personal photo album. The concept of the rear-view mirror especially. It does not only reflect the end of the trip but is a metaphor for our band RED as well. We started this thing with Ahooo! three years ago. It has been a great journey but I feel that nowadays we play better than ever. The juices flow, we’re comfortable with one another. It’s a great feeling.”

Ellister van der Molen

The Hague-based Ellister van der Molen is one of the country’s outstanding trumpet and flugelhorn players. She plays in a variety of settings, from soul-jazz outfit RED to her modern jazz groups of Ellister van der Molen Trio/Quartet/Quintet to the Latin/West African-tinged Modji. She is trumpeter in the Jazz Orchestra Of The Concertgebouw, Glenn Miller Orchestra and Dublin Jazz Orchestra. Van der Molen played with Rein de Graaff, Eric Ineke, Ack van Rooyen, Benjamin Herman, Sam Most, Tiny Thompson, Suzan Veneman and Peter Beets, among others.

Selected discography:

Triplicate, Three And One (Self-released 2012)
Ellister van der Molen, Smalls NYC (2014)
New York Round Midnight, New York Round Midnight (Maxanter 2015)
RED, Ahooo!!! (2018)
RED, NOLA (2020)

Bob Wijnen is a mainstay on the Hague scene and sought-after pianist and organist in various modern jazz settings. Check out his record as a leader NY Unforseen with guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Billy Drummond here.

Go to RED here.

Find NOLA on Sound Liaison here.

RED NOLA (Sound Liaison 2020)


NOLA is one step further in the remarkable development of soul jazz outfit RED.

RED-NOLA-cover © De Zagerij ontwerpbureau



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


in 2020 at Muziekcentrum van de Omroep in Hilversum


as Sound Liaison download in 2020

Track listing

It Ain’t My Fault
St. James Infirmary
Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me
Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Tom Cat Blues
Monkey Puzzle
That’s A Plenty

Black is the color of my true love’s hair… but red is the color of passion, wild roses, wine wine wine spo-dee-o-dee and the glow of the red-light district… RED, the band of trumpeter Ellister van der Molen, organist Bob Wijnen, tenor saxophonist Gideon Tazelaar and drummer Wouter Kühne, buoyantly evokes the spirit of New Orleans, cradle of jazz, art form born out of sleaze, resilience and the blues on NOLA, RED’s follow-up to 2018’s debut album Ahooo!. It delivers on the promise of RED’s promotional motto of ‘vibrant, uplifting’ jazz.

Van der Molen and Wijnen spent one week in The Big Easy in November 2019 and have turned their experience into song. The album, which comes in a stylish EP-sized package of drawings by Quirine Reijman with enclosed hi-res download by audiophile label Sound Liaison, was recorded in front of a live audience at Muziekcentrum van de Omroep in Hilversum. Killer vintage sound and atmosphere that makes momma Van Gelder proud.

RED feeds off legends Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, James Black and The Meters with various interesting approaches, turning in the restrained march of St. James Infirmary that features joyful muted trumpet, a modernized Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me reminding us of the minor-keyed Jazz Messengers gems and the party-hardy Tom Cat Blues. Furthermore, the traditional Just A Closer Walk With Thee has an intriguing modal feel and a maximum of ‘ton-sûr-ton’ coloring.

The band delights in funk jazz, Latin tinges and the original Van der Molen ballad, Sola, which translates as ‘lonely’. Van der Molen’s attempt, through lyrical blue-isms and crystalline, outgoing high notes, as a contemplation on both the melancholic and purifying aspects of loneliness, is highly engaging and successful. In her own words, ‘a real tearjerker’. Ain’t that the truth!

Good vibrations have been at the core of RED’s personality from its inception in 2017 but NOLA signifies a maturity arguably heretofore absent. Tazelaar’s pleasantly languid beat is reminiscent of the old tenor masters and his contributions are playful and marked by surprising tranquility. His full and warm tone matches well with Van der Molen’s sweet-sour sound and both revel in the company of the spirited Kühne and Wijnen, who slaughters a couple of turkeys with spirited and well-developed single Hammond organ lines. Wijnen’s concise solo intermezzo’s between songs heighten the tension of the main course.

Strong effort reminding us of the miraculous melting pot legacy of New’Awlins.

Check out the website of RED and find NOLA here.

Jazz In Times Of Corona Vol. 1


Terribly unfortunate events are going on day by day, especially somewhere else… in other parts of the world than our Western world. But the Covid-19 crisis is universal and without borders and the fact that other countries often are less stable doesn’t make the impact on our civilization less penetrating. The Covid-19 crisis creeps in the pores of society, and is a worrisome and occasionally fatal development especially for the health of the elderly and vulnerable. We’re in the thick of it and the outcome is unsure. Life has become substantially more surreal by the day… the melting watches and distorted landscapes of Dali and the flying cello ships of Richard “Prophet” Jennings don’t come close. Perhaps our lives have always been surreal and we have been unable to perceive it, until now.

We’re subjected to a strange mix of level-headedness and bewilderment, of thinking that time will heal or feeling that confusion will be our epitaph. Perhaps, as the weeks go by, puzzlement will gradually subside. In the meantime many of us need all the charity, determination and good humor that we are able to muster, and fortunately there hasn’t been a shortage of that of late. Yours truly, the Flophouse Floor Manager, while perhaps more jittery and nervous than he cares to admit, is ok. Amongst loved ones and wallowing in his usual mad laughter and subterranean detachement. Helping out the old folks of Amsterdam by day, jivin’ with jazz at night…

A bit of good-time live music would be a major upper for us aficionados. But that is the trouble at the heart of the interviews below. Records (and a good glass of single malt whiskey) are still within reach. But the curtains are drawn and club owners and jazz musicians are at a loss. Like all artists that work freelance for most of the time, jazz musicians are caught between a rock and a hard place, and the wound is open, and the bandages are out of stock… Typically competent in struggling their way out of a mess, considering their skill for improvisation and uncommon discipline, you can see them finding a way out of the labyrinth. However, looming fate is hard to suppress… So I was wondering how jazz musicians personally feel, where they stand now that their professional career is in jeopardy, how they fill their gig-less days and nights, perceive the future for the jazz business and, last but not least, if there is a positive note to the shock that the crisis has brought about.

So the floor is theirs. In part 1, tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett from London, U.K., French guitarist Félix Lemerle from New York City, U.S.A. and trumpeter Ellister van der Molen from The Hague, The Netherlands, whom I kindly thank for their insights and a glimpse into their way of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.

Simon Spillett: “My father, who is aged 80 and terminally ill with cancer, is in a nursing home which has, in line with government advice, been placed in lockdown. I have been unable to see him for a number of days but am in regular touch with those charged with his care. Of the various impacts the Covid-19 crisis has made upon my life, this is indisputably the hardest to bear. It’s heartbreaking to not see my father.

Although I also teach privately, run a youth big band at a music centre and write sleeve notes and record reviews, the main bulk of my income is as a performing jazz musician. Therefore to have perhaps 95% of your monthly cash-flow disappear overnight is both unprecedented and extremely worrying.

At present I am continuing to write and have been offered several small commissions from record labels and magazines which will help keep some income coming in but it will be insufficient to cover my outgoings. On March 26 the UK government announced a financial help package for those who are in self-employment like myself but as yet we are unsure about exactly how this will be implemented. And, with the timeline indicating payment no earlier than June, the following two months are likely to be extremely tough indeed for myself and many of my colleagues.

Like many musicians I know, I live in rented property and am hoping that the landlords will be sympathetic to these challenging circumstances. However, if not – despite the official deferment of legal evictions until at least three months time – I will almost certainly eventually lose my flat. Whichever way this current crisis plays out its impact on myself – and many fellow musicians -will be serious and have longer term ramifications.”

Félix Lemerle: “A regular day nowadays is pretty similar to a day without a gig, meaning I would stay home and practice. I’m in the Artist Diploma at Juilliard, so all classes have been moved online. Some classes work well remotely. However, we are still figuring out what to do to make the best use of our ensemble rehearsals, since we cannot play together. Days feel pretty similar so I’m glad school is still on so that it gives me something to differentiate them.

There’s a lot of people doing videos of themselves playing or collaborating with others with apps like Acapella or the like, but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon yet. I feel like social media are saturated with it, and I don’t think the spirit of our music is conveyed when there is none of the interaction that happens when playing together live. Musicians — those that don’t have to immediately put themselves at risk by taking another job because they need money right now, that is — will have more time to practice, but nothing substitutes playing with other people.”

Ellister van der Molen: “In spite of everything I try to spend my time as useful as possible and I keep my hand on the purse. My survival more or less depends on how many of my dates will be cancelled. I’m really in trouble when my summer projects – a concert tour in institutions for the elderly and workshops in Switzerland – will be cancelled. Otherwise, depending on what the outcome will be of the Tozo agreement, (governmental support, FM) I will just about manage to get by.

I sleep pretty late, but comparatively less late than usual, since the late night gigs have been cancelled! I keep in shape. I’m on the phone all the time with my father. Furthermore, I’m studying trumpet and planning the new season: a new record, arranging, online workshops, website updating, acquisition. It’s still a bit of a jumble but it’s no time to take a holiday.”

(Clockwise from l. to r: Simon Spillett; Félix Lemerle; Ellister van der Molen)

Simon Spillett: “After years of travelling across the UK to and from gigs my days now look and feel very different. Jazz musicians are famously supposed to be late risers in the morning, although few I’ve met actually are. Well, I’m now having fun making that cliché ring true! Seriously though, as soon as I could see the disruptive pattern that this pandemic was likely to bring, I made a resolution not to panic – self-isolation and considerable time alone are, after all, things that working musicians are very familiar with through years of study and practice. We’re also mostly very happy with our own company, despite the gregarious nature of our job.

My days so far have followed a pattern of writing during the morning and early afternoon, followed by a walk for exercise or, if absolutely necessary, a trip to a supermarket. I’m in daily contact with my friends within the jazz business. My girlfriend is also a jazz performer who has faced exactly the same overnight cancellations of her work and we speak each day, a conversation that keeps us both sane and focused.

Jazz musicians are extremely sensitive, most often with incredibly encompassing world views. They’re also experts in the unexpected, dealing with it on a daily basis. And they have an amazing capacity to see humour in the bleakest of circumstance; I’m very happy that I have friends like this right now. They do feel like a genuine community!

I keep myself busy writing. Although I haven’t touched my instrument in around a week, I am still thinking of music. I listen each day, choosing a different album to hear each morning as I get ready for the day, by no means all of them jazz. And I am thinking of how my work and attitude to it will change after we are again able to play in public. It’s a huge opportunity to refresh and rethink one’s approach.

I am also using the considerable time to reflect on what music means to me, not only as my livelihood but as a way of life. I am like a great many people, both those who play and those who listen, in that I’ve taken for granted the luxury of live music. If anything has proved definitively the binding power than music has on society it’s this current crisis.”

Félix Lemerle: “Hopefully this won’t last too long, but I’m pretty pessimistic. The economic impact on small businesses like clubs and restaurants will result in them closing or stopping live music even after the quarantine is over. I hope the scene will recover, but I’m sure this will be a major blow to an already struggling sector.

I don’t feel like there is much positivity about it. I can’t afford to romanticize the situation. I am lucky enough to have some money put aside, so my fiancee and I will be able to survive a couple months without income and no federal help, both of us being foreigners. But I’m thinking of all the working class people that lost their jobs, especially in times of absurd economic disparity, when 40% of people in the US can’t afford a $400 emergency and have no social safety net, the health care system is in crisis, and the government’s answers are so inadequate.”

Simon Spillett: “If, as predicted by many in the UK, our social distancing policy continues on into the summer months, then I feel deeply worried for the British jazz community. Some performers will be unable to bounce immediately back from this unexpected ‘pause’ as very few promoters are planning ahead, quite understandably. I’m not sure how I’ll continue at present.

I also fear that the grass roots venues – which are my ‘bread and butter’ – are truly in jeopardy. Many of their promoters, and almost all of their audience, fall into the ‘vulnerable’ category as defined by the UK government. It’s difficult not to see the current crisis as a potential death knell for this way of presenting and promoting jazz here in Great Britain and I truly fear that some of these lovely little clubs will just fade away from sight altogether in the wake of Covid-19.

It’s strange: there has been reams and reams of debate about the health, future and viability of jazz over the past few years, all of which, in light of Coronavirus, now seem altogether academic. There were lots of naysayers out there saying jazz was dead, it was no longer growing, it had no wider social relevance and that it wouldn’t take much to kill it off completely. Nobody could’ve predicted that a pandemic would enter the equation. I don’t think jazz will die through this – either here in the UK or anywhere else – but I do think we may have to look at it in a new way when all the dust settles. I think it was Roy Haynes who once said ‘jazz is like a cockroach – you try and stamp it out and it keeps on going’. That’s my belief now: it’ll survive this, and as the past has shown – think Prohibition, the Second World War, the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s – it’ll use circumstance to strengthen its relevance.”

Ellister van der Molen: “Everybody in the jazz scene is pretty concerned about one another, that’s cool. Surprisingly, we somehow have swapped the quick text message for the old-school phone call! Anyway, I need to be creative and find alternative ways to gain the audience and mine the digital world through YouTube, social media streams, newsletters, DIY recording, podcasting etcetera. I have to peddle arrangements and am thinking about performing for the elderly through the phone via Stichting Muziek Aan Huis. These are things that I have been neglecting because of a lack of will or time.”

Félix Lemerle: “On a personal note, I appreciate the time with my fiancee. I’m using my time to practice and she has school online. I really hope this will make people realize the need for a strong health care system, and more globally the importance of commons vs. neoliberal individualism. Again, I’m pretty pessimistic.”

Simon Spillett: “You can’t separate a musician from humanity so I’m also thinking of those I love, where I want to be when all this is over and, ultimately, what lessons we’ll have learned from this historic global event. Sometimes, although it can seem like life or death, you realise that jazz is just part of what you do, not all of who you are; a saxophone is just a saxophone; the search for the ‘perfect’ reed is just something you have to do; you can always take another crack at playing that chorus. All this is now firmly in perspective for me and, I hope, it’ll make me a better person as a result, whatever I do in the future.”

Jazz In Times Of Corona Vol. 1

Check out these websites:
Simon Spillett here.
Félix Lemerle here.
Ellister van der Molen here.

Photography Ellister van der Molen: Karin van Gilst

Saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett keeps a daily diary on Facebook which I urge everyone to check out.

Note: 3 days after this publication, Simon Spillett’s father Richard sadly passed away.

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.