Ferdinand Povel and the Rob Madna Trio Live at Café Hopper (Daybreak/Challenge 2007)


Dutch luminaries conquered Café Hopper in Antwerp.

Ferdinand Povel - Live At Café Hopper


Ferdinand Povel (tenor saxophone), Rob Madna (piano), Marius Beets (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on May 31, 2000 at Café Hopper, Antwerp


as DBCHR75370 in 2007

Track listing

Sleepless City
How Deep Is The Ocean
Will You Still Be Mine
Stella By Starlight
The Touch Of Your Lips
The Theme

As good as some concerts in big halls are and as good as the recorded evidence on wax sounds, there’s nothing like the atmosphere of the small club or café. Three Deuces. Birdland. Half Note Café. Lenny’s On The Turnpike. The Front Room. Boomers. And still going strong: Montmartre in Kopenhagen, Smalls in NYC. Over here in the Low-Lands there were places like Sheherazade in Amsterdam, B14 in Rotterdam, Persepolis in Utrecht, Pepijn in The Hague, Nick Vollebregt’s Jazzcafé in Laren. Way back when, the region was scattered with little spots that programmed jazz. Most of the places have disappeared. But there are some great new spots and some of the oldies are still around. De Tor in Enschede, Porgy & Bess in Terneuzen, Mahogany Hall in Edam, Paradox in Tilburg, Dizzy in Rotterdam, De Twee Spieghels in Leiden. When you hear a fluff or the choking of a valve you also witness the twitching eyebrow of the saxophonist and the chuckle of the drummer. You see the sweat running down the bassist’s neck. It’s live and lively.

Café Hopper in Antwerp, Belgium is a warhorse in existence since 1991. The beloved founder, bassist Mary Hehuat, sadly passed away last year. His sons had already more or less taken over business for a couple of years. Let’s hope that the place will continue their jazz programming. Between Low-Land icons as Toots Thielemans and local heroes, the little stage housed Lee Konitz, Nat Adderley, Wynton Marsalis and Brad Meldhau. In 2000, Hopper had typically booked a top-rate crew and presented tenor saxophonist Ferdinand Povel and the trio of pianist Rob Madna featuring bassist Marius Beets and drummer Eric Ineke. Not conscious about all Ineke’s enormous output, the release was pointed out to me recently by the latter tireless ambassador of hard bop, prominent mentor of young national and international lions and lionesses at conservatories around the world.

“Ferdinand was on top of his form’”, said Ineke.

Check. On fire.

Let’s for once resist the temptation to start the discourse which explains that not everything from the United States is pure gold and that Europe, after initial startup problems, spawned a pool of major-league players in the 1950s-70s, whose excellence often surprised American legends and pros, who on rare occasions even were outstripped in the act of improvisation. Let’s totally set aside the fact that Europe learned jazz from the homeland and its implied minority complex and see if a piece of jazz is hip or not whether it’s from America, Finland or Korea or black, white or yellow.

Today’s listening pleasure is from The Netherlands and plainly outstanding. Povel came up in the late 1960’s and developed into one of the prime Dutch saxophonists. He spent many years in the big bands of Peter Herbolzheimer and The Skymasters and was guest soloist in prime national and international big bands but also freelanced with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Philly Joe Jones, Dusko Goykovich and John Marshall. Madna (1931-2003) was one of the earliest high-level modern jazz pianists in the country in the 1950s and played with Phil Woods, Lucky Thompson and Freddie Hubbard. Ineke got on a roll in the late 1960s and 1970s as accompanist of Dexter Gordon and Johnny Griffin, among countless others. All have been influential mentors and teachers. Up to 2000, they had played and recorded with each other for decades, followed in their footsteps by ‘young’ bassist Marius Beets, who accompanied numerous artists with the Rein de Graaff Trio and is part of hard bop outfit The Eric Ineke Xpress.

They perform the boppish Madna tunes Sleepless City and Choctaw, and the standards How Deep Is The Ocean, Will You Still Be Mine, The Touch Of Your Lips and Stella By Starlight. Their rapport is evident and it all swings so smoothly like meandering rivers through the Alp valleys yet propulsive like a Lear jet. Close your eyes and listen to the tenor saxophonist and his long stories, brimming with ideas, never repeating himself but instead weaving one beautiful and logical line after another, bossy and soulful. His beat is slightly and pleasantly idiosyncratic, his sound is solid, burnished and punchy. Though he’s never roaring, there is in his playing a compelling urgency that challenges his rhythm section to come up with inventive goods. Above all, he’s controlled and graceful and particularly shines throughout Sleepless City and How Deep Is The Ocean.

Madna takes center stage with a sizzling rendition of Will You Still Be Mine. His refined restyling of Stella By Starlight is very enticing and underlined by subtle cymbal shadings by Ineke, who sets up a kind of floating time while locking in tightly with Beets at the same time. The tension builds, reflecting a great symphonic theme, that’s Stella by starlight and not a dream…

To boot, the sound is resonant and clear, courtesy of one Stephan van Wylick and this allows us to fully experience the typical pleasure of live barroom jazz. Just one night. But multiply and you have a life full of the real thing.

Ferdinand Povel

Live At Café Hopper is reissued on the Japanese Ultra-Vybe label.

Recommended listening:

Ferdinand Povel – Beboppin’ (Limetree 1983); YouTube link here.
Rob Madna – I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good (Omega 1977, featuring Eric Ineke); YouTube link here.
The Eric Ineke XPress – Dexternity: The Music Of Dexter Gordon (Daybreak 2016)

Listen to Good Bait, another good one by Povel with Rein de Graaff, Marius Beets, Eric Ineke and Pete Christlieb below on Spotify.

Eric Ineke Swingin’ Boppin’ And Burnin’ (Daybreak 2022)


Ultimate sideman and hard bop ambassador Eric Ineke can’t and won’t stop swingin’, boppin’ and burnin’.

Eric Ineke - Swingin' Boppin' And Burnin'


Eric Ineke (drums) and Rein de Graaff, Koos Serierse, Marius Beets, Jimmy Raney, Doug Raney, Ben Webster, Maynard Ferguson, Frans Elsen, John Marshall, Etta Jones, Houston Person, Pepper Adams, Piet Noordijk and others.




Daybreak 801 in 2022

Track listing

Hersey Bar
I Thought About You
Easy Living
Thou Swell
Eric’s Blues
The Theme

Rarely if ever have I heard such a quiet drum solo as the one that Eric Ineke played at his 70th Birthday Bash at Bimhuis, Amsterdam five years ago. It was quieter than soft winds through your hair. That was a festive occasion with buoyant bop and hard bop. Hence, Ineke’s contrasting, hushed and exceptionally skilled performance was all the more exciting.

The Dutch veteran that played with everybody from Dizzy Gillespie to Johnny Griffin and Dexter Gordon, is not the stereotypical drum soloist. Although he occasionally takes center stage, Ineke prefers concise statements and the interactive trading of eights and fours – if called by the spirit, twos. Typically, Ineke is a supportive and propulsive drummer that links Philly Joe to Elvin Jones and the big picture – wrenching every inch of soul from his bandmates that they’ve got – is his core business.

In honor of his 75th birthday, which again was celebrated at Bimhuis in April, Daybreak has released Swingin’ Boppin’ And Burnin’. It’s a compilation that compares well to Ineke’s 70th Birthday CD Let There Be Life, Love And Laughter: Eric Ineke Meets The Tenor Players and a feast of hard-swinging and subtle mainstream jazz recognition. Honestly, where else can you find such a diversity of characteristic soloists? Surprisingly, this diversity and timeline of 1968-2007 is not in any way confusing, certainly due to bassist/remastering engineer Marius Beets’s resonant and consistent sound concept.

Most of all, Ineke is the tie that binds the unique stylings of Jimmy Raney, Ben Webster, Maynard Ferguson and Pepper Adams, among others. Exceptionally alert and gifted with far-reaching songbook and drum historic knowledge, Ineke pretty much always finds the groove that fits the particular soloist, which coupled with a congenial and enthusiastic personality has made him one of Europe’s ideal drumming accompanists since the late 1960’s. For those in the know, it is no surprise to find extremes as Ineke’s subtle and driving brush work on pianist Frans Elsen’s version of Thou Swell and the explosive Art Blakey stylings of his band The JazzXPress’s intense Jotosko.

A couple of standout moments are Ben Webster’s (and, lest we forget, hot damn, Tete Montoliu’s) fervent ride through the anthemic stereotypical set closer The Theme and Jimmy Raney’s harmonically astute handling of Hersey Bar. The way Eric and his band kick the commonly understated Scott Hamilton into increasingly higher gears on Tangerine and trumpeter John Marshall’s sweet and sour handling of the beautiful ballad Easy Living further justify the conclusion that the pairing of Ineke and his closest musical associate, pianist Rein de Graaff, is one of the all-time great European modern jazz partnerships. The duo and its crackerjack contemporary and famous long-gone companions are like a shoal of dolphins that in a completely natural way continue its jumpin’ and jivin’ journey in and on the undercurrents and waves of the ocean.

This excellent compilation is awarded him warmly. Who knows what 80 will bring.

Eric Ineke

Find Swingin’ Boppin’ & Burnin’ here.

Septet Frans Elsen Norway (NJA 2021)


Dutch mainstreamers turned out to be top-notch fusion funkateers.

Septet Frans Elsen - Norway


Frans Elsen (Fender Rhodes), Eddie Engels (trumpet), Piet Noordijk (alto saxophone), Ferdinand Povel (tenor saxophone, flute 5-10), Wim Overgaauw (guitar), Rob Langereis (bass), Victor Kaihatu (bass 5-12), Eric Ineke (drums), Wim van der Beek (percussion)


in Hilversum, Loosdrecht and The Hague in 1972/73


as NJA 2101 in 2021

Track listing

Ringebu II
Ringebu I
Skåbu (live)
Otta (live)

At one time during the course of Norway, a session by the Septet Frans Elsen that was retrieved from the vaults by the Dutch Jazz Archive, these Dutch mainstays seem to have found themselves in a zone. It’s during their live rendition of the glowing Skåbu that a dark, brooding intensity reaches boiling point, the moody figures of Fender Rhodes player Frans Elsen leading the way and soloists Piet Noordijk, Eddie Engels and Wim Overgaauw having their sparkling say. Noordijk incorporates his fiery and lean bop lines into the fusion package, Engels plays expressive space blues and Overgaauw finds the intriguing middle ground between Sonny Sharrock and Phil Upchurch. Boiling point is partly reached by drummer Eric Ineke’s progressively intense and accentuated groove.

Frans Elsen was on the scene since the mid-1950’s, a splendid and authoritative bebop pianist but under the radar internationally. Elsen, who had amazing knowledge of jazz piano history, was one of the founders of Dutch jazz education and, feared but loved and influential on next generations, taught at varying conservatories. In the early 1970’s, Elsen was inspired by the Mwandishi band of Herbie Hancock and purchased a Fender Rhodes keyboard. His jazz funk and fusion septet was in existence till the early 1980’s.

Elsen had traveled to Norway and inspired by the surroundings written tunes which titles signified little villages in the region. By no means fluffy or floaty, his conveyance of mysterious and bucolic landscapes is grounded in strong melodies and terse rhythms. The attention of grooves like Harpefoss, Skåbu and Ringebu is held by Noordijk, who is like a bear cat, leaping this and that way and emitting the occasional screech and roar and Engels, whose fluency between registers and fire in semi-modal-funk surroundings is remarkable. AH-Mooh is Latin Nordic jazz funk, a lively contradiction in terms that is resolved excellently by the flute work of Ferdinand Povel. Throughout, Elsen proves to be a balanced Fender Rhodes player, contributing supple lines, staccato figures and decorative chords. Quite surprising, although Noordijk and bassist Rob Langereis had been part of burgeoning improv maverick Misha Mengelberg’s group and young Ineke had experienced jazz rock surroundings, how these mainstream stalwarts adapt so effortlessly to contemporary surroundings.

As a rule, the typically studious Dutch Jazz Archive produced a classy package (including liner notes by Eric Ineke) and Norway sounds clear and fresh thus should attract contemporary audiences, not least with the live recordings that climax with Otta, an Ornette Coleman-ish romp that has all soloists having serious fun and Engels kick starting his solo with a braggadocious entrance. Later on in his career, when Elsen had intensified his return to bebop piano, he referred to Norway as a youthful indiscretion. Safely said, a solid fusion imprudence.

Find Norway on the website of Nederlands Jazz Archief here.

Check out this performance at Loosdrecht in 1972 on YouTube here.

Double Dutch Delight


You get these bands from the past, when one mentions them to the other, the eyes of both jazz fans start to glow like coals on the barbecue. The Ben van de Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet was that kind of band. In the mid-1980’s, jazz could use a bit of spice and tenor saxophonist Ben van den Dungen and trumpeter Jarmo Hoogendijk had the right ingredients. The quintet further featured pianist Rob van Bavel. Initial bassist Anton Drukker and drummer Dré Pallemaerts were followed-up by Harry Emmery and Eric Ineke, who were there until the end in 2004.

This band was belching up vitamins. While contemporaries The Houdini’s (also a kind of ‘glow eye’ band) focused on no-nonsense hard bop, the Ben van den Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet veered towards progressive post-bop, the kind that was kick started by John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner and further developed by Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Clifford Jordan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton etc. The contrast between the buoyant Hoogendijk and driving but more introspective Van den Dungen was one of the band’s main assets. Another asset was the fact that all members were strong personalities. The young Rob van Bavel, nowadays one of the great European pianists, was a very dynamic player. Drummer Eric Ineke was a middle-aged veteran who had played with a who’s who of classic jazz including Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon and Johnny Griffin and had a distinct, explosive and subtle style that incorporated Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Billy Higgins, Louis Hayes etc.

Not only did the quintet duly revive the scene and influence the next generation, it also left its mark as a superb booking machine. Van den Dungen and Hoogendijk managed themselves and hung on the phone longer than the average call center employee from Booking.com. Their energetic DIY spirit resulted in a busy schedule in the region and internationally, climaxing with successful tours with Cindy Blackman and in Canada.

Eventually, Hoogendijk, also known for cooperations with Rein de Graaff, Charles McPherson, J.J. Johnson, Teddy Edwards, Afro-Cuban band Nueva Manteca and many others, unfortunately had to give up playing because of embouchure problems in 2004, a real loss for jazz. Since, Hoogendijk has been an influential teacher at the conservatory of Rotterdam. Van den Dungen has always been very active, both in small hard bop ensembles and world music-oriented big bands as Nueva Manteca and Tango Extremo. He recently released Live At Lux & Tivoli, a Coltrane tribute that features old pal Eric Ineke.

Last week Ben van den Dungen posted a YouTube link on Facebook from his late quintet, footage from the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1996, see here. It’s a great example of the quintet’s flair, virtuosity and contagious energy. It complements older footage from the same date, see here.

The Ben van den Dungen & Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet was the cream of the crop and these guys were on par with the so-called new heroes of Neo-Bop from the USA like Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, James Carter, Wallace Roney et al. During their existence, the Ben van den Dungen & Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet released four records, starting with 1987’s Heart Of The Matter and ending with 1995’s Double Dutch.

Our Man In The Hague


Good news for those who every year at the ‘requiem for the departed’ All Souls start to thinking again, ‘damn this pretty rare Dexter Gordon record keeps eluding me time and again…’. That particular record, All Souls, the live performance of Long Tall Dex with the Rob Agerbeek Trio in 1972, is reissued, newly remastered, on the Ultra Vybe label in Japan. Plus bonus track.

As one of many expatriates in Europe, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was a welcome guest at the European stages in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Not only did the Copenhagen-based progenitor of bop tenor sax and hard bop giant play festivals, he also participated in tours in little places across countries like The Netherlands. Here’s a fragment from a letter that Gordon wrote to friends in Denmark: “This tour is quite fantastic; we are traveling through Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and France! It’s six weeks no, seven and I’m getting rich! Anyway, it’s very well organized and seems to be a success. For the most part I’m working with the same group…”.

From l. to. r: All Souls; Ultra Vybe CD; gatefold LP; Dexter Gordon’s bicycle race.

That band consisted of pianists Rein de Graaff and occasional substitute Rob Agerbeek, bassist Henk Haverhoek and drummer Eric Ineke. All Souls, with Agerbeek at the piano, was recorded on November 2, 1972 at the Haagse Jazz Club in The Hague, The Netherlands. Gordon is in excellent form. All Souls was reviewed in Flophouse Magazine in 2017, read the review here.

Eric Ineke once in conversation recounted to me the last time that he met Gordon at North Sea Jazz in the early ‘80s. Gordon waved and shouted, “S.O.S!”. Gordon did not mean that he was in clear and present danger, but instead added, “Same Old Shit!”. Long Tall Dex had style and humor. Ineke reflected that it was darkly humorous, because Gordon was getting more tired and burned out at the latter stage of his life.

Find All Souls on Ultra Vybe here. Distribution from The Netherlands is scheduled for this year. And good luck with the vintage vinyl hunt, of course.

Pinheiro Ineke Cavalli Turn Out The Stars (Challenge 2021)


Tight-knit guitar trio Pinheiro Ineke Cavalli refreshes the work of piano legend Bill Evans.

Pinheiro Ineke Cavalli - Turn Out The Stars


Ricardo Pinheiro (guitar), Massimo Cavalli (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on November 8, 2019 at Atlantico Blue Studios, Lisbon


as CR 73523 in 2021

Track listing

You Must Believe In Spring
Peri’s Scope
Turn Out The Stars / Time Remembered
Very Early
Waltz For Debby
Some Other Time

Versatile Portuguese guitarist Ricardo Pinheiro, also a Psychology Graduate, is a keen interpreter of the jazz songbook and sustains a fascinating career that includes both fusion and the serene soundscapes of Caruma. His veteran Dutch colleague Eric Ineke has been there and done that and regardless of the age of 73 succeeds at continuously deepening his drum style. The trio is completed by Massimo Cavalli, harmonically refined bass player from Italy with a forceful, resonant sound. These gentlemen met in Lisbon and have already cooperated with Dave Liebman on Is Seeing Believing? (note the continuity of sleeve design) in 2016 and released their debut album Triplicity in 2019.

Swell and challenging idea, Bill Evans project. Unanimous decision by Pinheiro Ineke Cavalli, which alertly, tastefully and full of surprising details adheres to the piano giant’s far-reaching democratic principle of doing justice to every personality in the band. Very “Evans” as well: refined lightness that almost evokes weightlessness, which is a feeling that the internationally diverse trio brings to the fore very well while retaining its own authoritative identity.

A spacious and ephemeral sound and an angular but lyrical style, tagged by sleazily bended notes, are Pinheiro’s strong points. He’s convincing without superfluous exclamation marks. With bountiful calmness of line. And truly inventive at deepening Leonard Bernstein’s Some Other Time and medley Turn Out The Stars/Time Remembered with melodically astute use of echo, tone and volume control. The latter features Pinheiro working off the increasingly intense free forms of Ineke and Cavalli. Electric sheep jump fences. Silver apples seek the rising sun. Munchkins talk to the wind. Time went back to the future. Seldom if ever have we heard Bill Evans interpreted this way.

The conversational figures of the boppish Peri’s Scope, mix of cubist chords and rustling drum patterns of Michel Legrand’s You Must Believe In Spring, marvelous alternation of pizzicato and arco bass during Very Early and Ineke’s melodious solo lessons of simplicity during Interplay – indeed a very interactive performance – are snappy details in support of a layered whole. Simultaneously homage and stepping-stone for a new chapter in its suspenseful book, Turn Out The Stars finds Pinheiro Ineke Cavalli at the top of its game.

Find Turn Out The Stars here.

Joan Benavent Sunrise (SedaJazz 2020)


South and North-West meet on Sunrise, the latest release from Joan Benavent, killer saxophonist from Spain.


Joan Benavent - Sunrise


Joan Benavent (tenor saxophone), Pep Zaragoza (trumpet), Bart van Lier (trombone), Miguel Rodriguez (piano), Steven Zwanink (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


in 2020 at Studio Smederij, Zeist


as SedaJazz 095 in 2020

Track listing

El Bancal de la Serp
Mean To Me
Tres Voltes Maria
El Ogro Grogro
Body And Soul
What Is This Thing Called Love

Sunrise. Yes, the sun also rises. In Valencia, sensuous city on the East Coast of Spain, residence of tenor saxophonist Joan Benavent. The sun looms behind Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia’s major modern sight. Ten-minute drive to the hospital in lockdown streets, but suddenly the stormy horn calls on the muse. A trumpet sizzles, a trombone giggles. They slide into a layered groove: propellent bass, snare rolls and subtle accents on the cymbal that tickle a frivolous toddler. Least until sunset, the silenced city is alive.

Benavent will not be caught watching the paint dry. Big, broad, full sound, fluent stories checked with luminous scales, like sailboats in the moonlight hurrying from buoy to buoy. Technique that backs up his claim. Benavent is assisted by trumpeter Pep Zaragoza, trombonist Bart van Lier, pianist Miguel Rodriguez, bassist Steven Zwanink and drummer Eric Ineke. Spanish Armada, Dutch Delight. Special rapports breed successful projects and connaisseurs of European jazz will notice the variety of past alliances of this particular line-up.

Sunrise follows up Opening, which featured Eric Ineke, one of his mentors in Valencia and The Hague. Opening (under the banner of O3 Jazz Trio) signified a couple of journeys to the outskirts of mainstream jazz. Sunrise picks up on that vibe: the chord-heavy title track, the oblique progression of El Ogro Grogro, the sweeping Coltrane-ish intro, duality of tension and release and the hip and heavy climax of the Latin-tinged El Bancal de la Serp, which may serve as a contemporary European update of the kick-ass Woody Shaw bands of the ‘70s.

Standard time. Body And Soul may not leave an unforgettable impression but Benavent’s less-is-more approach is a welcome diversion and Miguel Rodriguez adds a peppery and wide-ranging tale. Benavent sweetly and dynamically whispers Skylark and the band swings What Is This Thing Called Love to the ground. It pimps Mean To Me, immortalized by Billie Holiday, which is marked by spicy simultaneous blowing by Benavent and Van Lier and the steam train energy of Zwanink and Ineke.

How lovely to have the opportunity to hear trombonist Bart van Lier in a small band setting on record again. Rare occasion. The ephemeral colors of the European trombonist par excellence, head slide trombonist in the Metropole Orchestra and studio pro since ages, mingle neatly with brownstone Benavent and sunny Zaragoza. Tart, swirling exclamations mark his elegant and frivolous journeys through ballad, standard and post-bop. He can do anything on the horn and makes it sing. Master at work.

Master stroke to have this man join an already fine session of European mainstream jazz.

Joan Benavent

Curious, I asked Joan for a translation of some of the titles of his original compositions. Titles reveal something about the feeling and vibe musicians want to convey.

Benavent explains: “El Bancal de la Serp means snake’s field. It’s about a field on the outskirts of my village and the myth of an immense snake that could be found thereabout. Obviously we never got to see it, but as kids we glanced every once in a while and our minds made up the rest to the point that sometimes we would really see a bit of the snake, haha. In the end, for me and my friends this was a matter of overcoming our fears. Now I keep feeding the myth by telling the snake’s story to my daughter and nieces and it is so nice to see how they do well, fighting against their fears, because every time we have a countryside walk around that area, they are so curious to approach and see if they can find the big snake. For me it is important to see them overcoming their fears and that’s why I thought to write a tune about it.”

El Ogro Grogro was a bedtime story that my aunt used to tell me when I was very young. The story talks about a princess that marriages an ogre against the will of her family. He ends up being accepted by everybody by saving some locals performing some brave acts. This story was a beginning for me to understand that the important part of a person lies inside and that you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.”

Timeless stories and Benavent and his group did well to convey the sentiment.

Find Sunrise on Bandcamp here.