Steve Nelson Trio A Common Language (Daybreak 2024)


Doing a Double Nelson.

Steve Nelson Trio - A Common Language


Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Joris Teepe (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on October 23, 2023 at De Smederij, Zeist


as Daybreak 802/3 in 2024

Track listing

Bag’s Groove
Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
Body And Soul
I Hear A Rhapsody
My Shining Hour
I Thought About You
Star Eyes
Oh, Lady Be Good
Embraceable You
Well, You Needn’t
Up Jumped Spring
Lover Man
I Remember April
Satin Doll

“There’s no telling what we’ll play in the second set,” bystanders overheard bassist Joris Teepe say at the CD-release concert of A Common Language by the Steve Nelson Trio at De Pletterij in Haarlem on April 1. Among others, it turned out, they played a lush version of ‘Round Midnight and a gritty jump blues take on Frankie And Johnny, both made up on the spot and not presented on the American vibraphonist’s first album on the Daybreak imprint of Timeless Records.

Steve Nelson, preeminent 69-year-old vibraphonist and past associate of Dave Holland and Mulgrew Miller, is an invitee of ‘Dutch New Yorker’ Teepe, who as artistic advisor of the Prins Claus Conservatory of Groningen regularly brings his American connections to his home country. The trio is completed by veteran drummer Eric Ineke, pinnacle of Dutch jazz that played with a who’s who in jazz from Dexter Gordon to Jimmy Raney and Eric Alexander to Tineke Postma.

On stage, the quiet and reserved Nelson says: “I like to play with everybody, young and old, but with these guys… (sighs). They are so experienced and know exactly what they are doing.” And then some. It is quite a team, full of interaction and balanced energy. Especially from playing a bit more together the last few years than in the past, the Teepe/Ineke tandem has become particularly tight-knit and flexible, Teepe’s way of making the music breathe quite phenomenal and Ineke’s succinct questioning-and-answering typically steady, dynamic and vivid.

All this is in evidence on the appropriately titled 2CD-set A Common Language. Fifteen standards, no less, and Nelson must have felt like a kid in a candy store, relishing the various melodies and changes of iconic tunes, and like a counterfeit passenger on a magic carpet, enjoying the ride with his top-rate colleagues from the Low-Lands. Whether it’s Bag’s Groove of Nelson’s iconic precursor Milt Jackson, De Paul/Raye’s Star Eyes, two standard ballads Embraceable You and Lover Man, or swing anthem Oh, Lady Be Good, Nelson is on a constantly creative level, pouring out vivacious and flowing lines like a tap dancer that’s swinging in the rainy streets of Storyville.

This set, indeed, is a city of versatile stories. Relentless trio drive marks Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise, while I Thought About You moves ever-so-slowly in a good groove, a version that is kickstarted by a gorgeous introduction on the vibraphone and finds Nelson in a pensive mood, as it were, in deep thought like Socrates on a rock on the Olympus. The slapping rockabilly bass of Teepe spurs on Monk’s Well, You Needn’t, which also includes one of Teepe’s finest solo spots.

It may not be, as stated in the liner notes, the first-ever album of vibraphone, bass and drums – rare as it is, at least there’s Khan Jamal’s 1986 Steeplechase album The Traveler that has explored this territory before. But it is an undeniable truth, as Ria Wigt from Timeless Records pointed out on stage at De Pletterij, that A Common Language is one of the best career efforts of the number one vibes player of his generation, with more than a little help from his exceptional Dutch friends.

Steve Nelson Trio

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

Joris Teepe & Don Braden Chemistry (Creative Perspective Music 2021)


Chemical brothers of jazz strike again.

Joris Teepe & Don Braden - Chemistry


Joris Teepe (bass), Don Braden (tenor saxophone, flute), Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums), Louis Hayes (drums)


on May 1 & August 10, 2018 and 2021 at Creative Perspective Studio


as CPM 3006 in 2020

Track listing

Steepian Faith
One Finger Snap
Song For My Father
The Optimist
Dizzy’s Business
Unit 7

The Dutch bassist Joris Teepe and American tenor saxophonist Don Braden have been closely associated since the early 1990’s. Their Trio Of Liberty focuses on piano-less jazz featuring different guest drummers. Their first Trio Of Liberty album, 2017’s Conversations, featured Gene Jackson and Matt Wilson and their latest, Chemistry, proudly presents Jeff “Tain” Watts and Louis Hayes.

Sought-after Teepe, collaborator of Benny Golson and Rashied Ali, educator at the conservatory of Groningen in The Netherlands, has immersed himself in the New York scene since 1991. Quote: “I love American jazz and have practically turned into an American. I have a place in Englewood, a work permit and passport.” 20+ albums with Don Braden, exponent of the American school of jazz musicians that steadfastly, regardless of fashion or hype, prowls the borders of mainstream jazz, speaks volumes about their chemistry, evident again on this set of intriguingly arranged modern standards and original compositions.

Braden tells balanced stories with a beginning, plenty of tension, an end and unwavering tone. Teepe anchors Braden’s urgent lines on ‘veird’ blues songs, the funk-meets-swing of his composition The Optimist and solos strongly throughout. Watts is especially melodic on Hancock’s deconstructed One Finger Snap, which is marked by nifty time changes that subtly put you off your feet without entirely knocking you down. Mildly dizzying and quite enjoyable and remarkable. Rhythmic ping pong games round the table, by all concerned, intensify Braden’s lush Steps, which oozes Coltrane and finds Braden in a fiery mood.

Subtle groove pervades Horace Silver’s Song For Your Father, featuring Louis Hayes, veteran of the epic late 1950’s Silver line-up. His semi-slow shuffle on Unit 7, composition by Sam Jones, Hayes’s former band mate from the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, underlines a relaxed and bluesy flute solo by Braden, heir to forebears as Jerome Richardson and James Spaulding. The hard-swinging Dizzy’s Business completes Hayes’s sprightly contributions, typically shaping the movement of tunes with care and punch. With both Watts and Hayes in tow, you get contrasts and similarities of styles and consequently an extra layer of satisfaction.

The warm embrace of bass and tenor climaxes with Braden’s ballad Morning, a duet of modern jazz arrivés that grow old(er) together in perfect harmony.

Joris Teepe & Don Braden

Find Chemistry on Amazon here.

Source: Jazz Bulletin

Engels Teepe Herman When Will The Blues Leave (Dox 2021)


This is the way you want your jazz: spontaneous, charged and free-flowing.

Engels Teepe Herman - When Will The Blues Leave


Benjamin Herman (alto saxophone), Joris Teepe (bass), John Engels (drums)


on June 15 & 16, 2020 at Bimhuis, Amsterdam


as DOX in 2021

Track listing

Sonny Boy
Fried Bananas
The Peacocks
When Will The Blues Leave
I Found A New Baby
Moose The Mooche
Time Was

John Engels is 85-year old and has been playing jazz for sixty years. He ain’t about to stop. On the contrary, the legendary Dutch drummer, who among others cooperated with Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Thad Jones, Teddy Edwards, Ben Webster and Toots Thielemans, swings like mad on When Will The Blues Leave, cooperation with bassist Joris Teepe and alto saxophonist Benjamin Herman. Middle-aged Teepe and Herman have plenty of experience as well. One of Teepe’s career highlights undoubtedly has been his nine year stint with Coltrane’s last drummer Rashied Ali. The multi-dimensional Herman has recently, to give you just one example, released the punk jazz record Bughouse.

When Will The Blues Leave – Ornette Coleman’s anthem that is an apt reflection of this session – finds them in enthusiastic and deeply rooted straightforward jazz mode. The record was recorded, without an audience, at Bimhuis, Amsterdam. Production is wonderful, with drums, bass and sax all sounding resonant and punchy as a unit, which certainly is a prerequisite for a piano-less trio. The set of standards include Sonny Boy, Fried Bananas (Engels also played with Dexter Gordon), Parker’s Moose The Mooche. The inclusion of lesser-known gems as Time Was (best known through the Coltrane version) and Bittersweet (a great tune by Sam Jones, immortalized on the Eastern Rebellion record of Cedar Walton/George Coleman – Engels also played with Coleman) is an extra treat.

While the quality of solo’s, intermezzo’s, group interplay is high throughout, The Peacocks and I Found A New Baby are definite highlights. Herman beautifully rhapsodizes the melody of The Peacocks, the lovely Jimmy Rowles ballad that was a staple for Stan Getz – Engels played with Getz; so by now the loosely interweaved theme of this record will have become evident. The trio is particularly pithy during the New Orleans-flagwaver I Found A New Baby, finding an exceptional synergy of tightness/looseness that stems from long-standing cooperation. Herman refers to the kick-ass version of Lester Young, an example that is hard to beat.

Hard to beat is appropriate terminology also for the real and uncluttered stuff that Engels Teepe Herman present, the kind of jazz that will likely keep it solid till kingdom come.

Find When Will The Blues Leave here.

In The Spirit Of Joris Teepe


Things are pretty much always happening for Joris Teepe, sought-after Dutch bassist. No less than three albums have been issued lately: The Don Braden/Joris Teepe Quartet’s In The Spirit Of Herbie Hancock, the reissue of Teepe’s 1998 record Seven Days A Week featuring Randy Brecker and Chris Potter and Stream’s Yellowbird, Teepe’s cooperation with trombonist Christophe Schweizer and legendary drummer Billy Hart.

Diverse stuff from the bassist, composer, arranger and big band leader who has been dividing his time between New York City and his home country since the early ‘90s, the only one of his generation that made a definite mark in the competitive jazz world of The Big Apple. A quick interactive mind, harmonic daring and fluent support are some of the talents of Teepe, who has been working in both mainstream tradition and free jazz settings. Teepe worked with Benny Golson, Charles McPherson, Eric Alexander, Tom Harrell, Jarmo Hoogendijk, Slide Hampton, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Werner, John Abercrombie, Peter Bernstein and many others.

I remember Teepe saying something along the lines that, in fact, free jazz has become a valid tradition in itself, a well that contemporary musicians can dig for the things that they appreciate as a starting point to their creative endeavors. True enough. Teepe himself has taken the bull by the horns and, among other things, worked with drummer Rashied Ali, who pushed the envelope ever since his high-profile career start in the final band of John Coltrane. Teepe was the long-time rhythm companion of Ali from 2000 until Ali’s passing in 2009, in the words of the bassist, “a transformative experience.” In 2018, Teepe released the highly acclaimed CD/audio book In The Spirit Of Rashied Ali. Wonder whose spirits Teepe will choose to arouse in the future.

Besides Teepe, live performance In The Spirit Of Herbie Hancock features saxophonist Don Braden, pianist Rob van Bavel and drummer Owen Hart Jr. Longtime musical buddy of Teepe, lively Mr. Braden flexes his muscles, there’s his deep sound with the sandpaper edge and his pleasantly slightly ‘lazy’ beat. Teepe is glue, harmonically astute. The synthesis of Van Bavel’s layered bass chords and patterns and dazzling waterfalls on the upper keys is complete. Buoyant and eloquent, the European modern piano giant is in fine form. Sheer joy! The program of Hancock classics as Maiden Voyage, Speak Like A Child, early ‘70s jazz funk of Actual Proof and Butterfly, finds highlights in the twisted rhythm of the gutsy Watermelon Man and thudding swing of Teepe’s blues-based Role Model, both reflecting Hancock but somehow also reminiscent of the exciting Mingus/Ervin/Byard/Richmond configuration. High-level post bop in The Hague, about 30 miles from Flophouse Headquarters, where the hell was I?!

Another high-quality affair: Seven Days A Week. In the ‘90s, Teepe was at the right place at the right time in NYC, mesmerizing mix of the acclaimed and the new breed like James Carter, Chris Potter, Cyrus Chestnut and Joshua Redman. Crackerjack Randy Brecker and rising star Chris Potter are featured on Teepe’s fourth album as a leader. Intriguing, stripped versions of Seven Steps To Heaven and Cherokee alternate with the roaring Some Skunk Funk – Brecker reference. Highlight Joriscope, re-imagination of mid-sixties Blue Note avant, completes the excellent Seven Days A Week, reissued on Via Records.

Stream, brainchild of German trombonist Christophe Schweizer, released Yellowbird. It features saxophonist Sebastian Gille, pianist Pablo Hell and the very responsive rhythm section of Teepe and Billy Hart. Elusive music centered round the distinctive sound of trombone and tenor/soprano sax. Complex, at times symphonic, at times light as a feather, always with the subtle undercurrents of Billy Hart, whose Africa-tinged backdrop of Motion is remarkable. You have to let it work on you, as the compositional approach is equally important as improv. Tersely swinging though is Teepe’s Peter’s Power, featuring a killer bass solo. Stream’s alienating Body & Soul, including expertly done slower-than-slow tempo, is the must-hear finish to a record that was released in May 2020 on the long-standing and collectable Enja label.

Listen to In The Spirit Of Herbie Hancock on Spotify below.

Joris Teepe

The Don Braden/Joris Teepe Quartet, In The Spirit Of Herbie Hancock (O.P.A. Records, 2020); Find here.
Joris Teepe, Seven Days A Week (Via Records, 1998/2020); Find here.
Stream, Yellowbird (Enja 2020); Find here.

Go to the website of Joris Teepe here.

In The Spirit Of Rashied Ali


Bassist Joris Teepe has been living and working simultaneously in New York and Amsterdam since the 90s. As the only Dutch jazz musician of his generation, Teepe has enjoyed a fruitful career on the American scene. He has performed and recorded with, among others, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, Charles McPherson, Harold Mabern, Billy Hart, Eric Alexander, Tom Harrell, Peter Bernstein, Mulgrew Miller and Randy Brecker. More and more, Teepe leaned to avant-garde jazz, particularly under the influence of drummer Rashied Ali. Rashied Ali was one of the big free jazz drummers. He is perhaps best known for his cooperation with John Coltrane on Interstellar Space. Teepe was part of Ali’s group from 2001 till 2009, when Ali passed away. His robust yet silken tone and fluid style keeps Teepe in high demand.

Now the bassist and composer has released the booklet and album In The Spirit Of Rashied Ali, a dedication to his mentor that also features saxophone players Wayne Escoffery, Johannes Enders and Michael Moore, guitarist Freddie Bryant and drummer John Betsch. The thoroughly instructive and well-designed booklet is written by John Weijers.

(Clockwise from left to right: Joris Teepe – In The Spirit Of Rashied Ali; Benny Golson & Joris Teepe; Rashied Ali & John Coltrane)

Teepe says: “You could say for me there is the period before Rashied and the period after Rashied.”

One rather cruel anecdote from Patricia Ali during her interview with Teepe and drummer George Schuller about the period during which Ali ran a club in New York City speaks volumes about the maverick spirit of the late avant-garde drummer (and Patricia!), who refused to be dictated by the whims of corporate labels:

“Rashied was into doing his own thing. He had his own recording company called Survival Records. He had his own publishing company, Ali Music. And then he wanted a club because there was no place for this type of music to be played at the time. You know, the Village Vanguard wasn’t really presenting that. So there was a lot of jazz, but no place for the Avant Garde. Rashied actually got a liquor license and so there was food and liquor. His partner Benny Wilson was wonderful. He did double-duty as Rashied’s bassist and part-time cook in the club.”
George: “And the club was exactly where the studio was?”
Patricia: “No…the club was on the first floor. There was the front door and then there was a ticket window, and that’s where the recording booth was. And then you went through another door, you couldn’t actually get into the club until you paid.”
George: “So the storefront, with the fashion boutique, is where the club was?”
Patricia: “Yes…that whole space. And in the back was the kitchen and also an area for musicians to hang out.”
George: “What came first, the club or the studio?”
Patricia: “The club, the studio wasn’t built until the 1980’s.”
Joris: “First, he was renting, right?”
Patricia: “Well, he rented both floors.”
Joris: “And then he wanted to buy the place, he got tired of the Mafia coming around…”
Patricia: “See, the Mafia kept track of local businesses by cigarette machines and by garbage collection.”
This was the common practice of a kind of neighborhood extortion by the Ma a in New York City at the time.
“So Rashied refused to have a cigarette machine in the place, and then he would take his own garbage to wherever you take garbage. And they did not like that. They broke his jaw at one point and they rammed his fingers, but luckily, he could still play. Then one day he sent me over there with one of the kids. I wanted them to see that we were a family. We had to pay $50 to someone over there. I went down there, looking very pathetic of course, because $50 was a lot for us at that time. So, we bought an ad in the local ‘neighborhood’ newspaper. And that seemed to settle the problems with the Mafia for us, because they could tell there wasn’t a huge amount of business going on here. They wanted their payment based on things like garbage and cigarette machines.”

In The Spirit Of Rashied Ali is released by Jazz Tribes. It is available on Amazon.

Check out the website of Joris Teepe here.