Scott Hamilton in Holland


In December 2023 I reviewed Live At De Tor by Scott Hamilton and the Rein de Graaff Trio, a great disc of a performance by the acclaimed and swinging tenor saxophonist from 2004. See here. That was a Japanese release by Timeless Records, which has now released Live At De Tor worldwide. Also on vinyl.

A good opportunity to reunite. Hamilton and his Dutch colleagues, the swinging, ever-dependable Dutch maestros Rein de Graaff on piano, Marius Beets and Eric Ineke on drums embark on a tour in The Netherlands that starts on April 19 in Eindhoven and ends at Bimhuis, Amsterdam on May 2. See below.

19 april 24 Muziekgebouw – Eindhoven;
21 april 24 Musicon – Den Haag;
22 april 24 Hnita Jazz Club – Heist op den Berg (Belgium);
24 april 24 Theater de Willem – Papendrecht;
25 april 24 SPOT – Groningen;
26 april 24 Theater Mystiek/De Tor – Enschede;
28 april 24 Tivoli Vredenburg matinee concert – Utrecht;
30 april 24 BIM Huis – Amsterdam;
1 mei 24 Nieuwe Kerk – Zierikzee;
2 mei 24 BIM Huis – Amsterdam;

Scott Hamilton & Rein de Graaff Trio

Find Live At De Tor on the website of Timeless here.

Scott Hamilton Live At De Tor (Timeless 2023)


Detor Ahead.

Scott Hamilton - Live At De Tor


Scott Hamilton (tenor saxophone), Rein de Graaff (piano), Marius Beets (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on December 3, 2004 at De Tor, Enschede, The Netherlands


as Timeless 47448 in 2023

Track listing

Rhythm Riff
Easy To Love
Old Folks
After You’re Gone
Pennies From Heaven

Iremember buying Hamilton’s The Grand Appearance not too long ago, one of his first records featuring Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. I was struck again by his beautiful sound and authentic conception. Back then, in 1979, the tenor saxophonist was quite the sensation in the jazz realm, a cat that seemingly came out of nowhere to conjure up the spirits of Lester Young, Chu Berry, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. His association with Roy Eldridge and Benny Goodman kickstarted a fruitful career on both sides of the Atlantic and in jazz-crazed Japan and South Korea.

Hamilton always relied on the best rhythm sections in Europe, notably the Rein de Graaff Trio. (Coincidentally, Hamilton gigged in Holland just last month with another good group featuring bassist Hans Mantel and drummer/vibist Frits Landesbergen) Proof of Hamilton’s excellent pairing with the De Graaff Trio is 2013’s Live At The Jazzroom in Breda. Live At The Tor in Enschede is a great follow-up featuring the same group with drummer Marius Beets and drummer Eric Ineke.

To be sure, it is actually a prequel, recorded in 2004 at one of the finest and longest-running clubs in The Netherlands, far away from the central Western area of Dutch jazz, close to the border of Germany. The band is captured in full glory, courtesy of bassist/engineer Marius Beets.

Eric Ineke says: “With a great swinger like Scott you have nothing to do except for laying down a light swinging carpet. But as easy as it seems it is never boring because Scott is always interactive. He has a choice of the best standards and he knows so many tunes. The audience loves him.” (The Ultimate Sideman, FM)

Appropriate. And he has a sound as enjoyable as a bite of the best Shepherd’s Pie in the vicinity, phrasing as satisfying as a stroll through the streets of Siracusa. Evidently a joy to back up, as one can hear on Live At De Tor. Hamilton and his men dig up Easy To Love, Old Folks, Tangerine, After You’re Gone, Pennies From Heaven and relish Hamilton’s own variation on I Got Rhythm, named Rhythm Riff. De Graaff’s rock solid trio is perfect foil for Hamilton, who keeps ‘traditional’ things interesting with abundance of ideas and balanced story developments from warm showers to boiling point.

A couple of spoilers: Rhythm Riff and After You’re Gone have a jubilant Kansas City vibe. Tangerine showcases De Graaff’s beautiful long and bar-stretching lines. The audience feels inclined to join in with the lyrics of Pennies From Heaven, the album’s exquisite closing tune. Finally, Hamilton quotes I Got Rhythm three times throughout his performance on that winter evening in the ‘Far East’.

The latter’s an example of timeless playfulness during a top-notch live session of rather timeless mainstream jazz.

Scott Hamilton & the Rein de Graaff Trio

Find the Japanese release of Live At De Tor here. According to Rein de Graaff, Timeless will release it for the Western market in 2024.

Webster Young - For Lady

Webster Young For Lady (Prestige 1957)

Webster Young found the right touch of melancholy and heartburn on his tribute record to Billie Holiday, For Lady.

Webster Young - For Lady


Webster Young (cornet), Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone), Joe Puma (guitar), Mal Waldron (piano), Earl May (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)


on June 14, 1957 at Rudy van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey


as PLP 7106 in 1957

Track listing

Side A:
The Lady
God Bless The Child
Moanin’ Low
Side B:
Good Morning Heartache
Don’t Explain
Strange Fruit

Never heard of Columbia, South Carolina until I read that it is the birthplace of trumpeter Webster Young. He was born there in 1932 but raised in Washington D.C., more familiar jazz terrain, not a major historical jazz center, though the fact that it, besides Leo Parker, Buck Hill, Charlie Rouse, Ira Sullivan and Billy Hart spawned Duke Ellington is significant. New York City is the quintessential modern jazz hub and that is where Young traveled to in the mid-1950’s and hooked up with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean.

Most jazz fans likely discovered the under-recorded Young on the Prestige All-Stars record Interplay For Two Trumpets And Two Tenors, which is routinely sectioned under the name of tenor giant John Coltrane. He’s heard on four records by McLean in 1957/58, among those A Long Drink Of The Blues. While hot shots like Lee Morgan were defining the hard bop field, Young preferred the understated lyricism of Miles Davis, in particular the period of 1954, when Davis recorded Walkin for Prestige and Bag’s Groove for Blue Note. Young’s indebtedness to Davis is furthermore revealed by his composition House Of Davis, featured on Ray Draper’s Tuba Sounds. Moreover, 1961 recordings by Young in St. Louis were released as Plays The Miles Davis Songbook in 1981.

From Columbia, Washington, army band stint with Hampton Hawes, his arrival and recording activity in NYC to For Lady, the story is relatively clear. Thereafter, Young disappeared from the scene. But in 1992, the trumpeter surprisingly found himself on a bill in The Netherlands, touring with fellow unsung trumpet hero Louis Smith and the Rein de Graaff Trio featuring bassist Koos Serierse and drummer Eric Ineke as part of De Graaff’s acclaimed Bop Courses, which included such diverse legends and unsung heroes as Johnny Griffin, Dave Pike, Red Holloway and Marcus Belgrave. De Graaff (on the phone) explains: “The way that I understood, Young left New York because it was such a mess. Back then a big part of New York was very criminal and infested with narcotics. Young was afraid that his life would spiral out of control because of drugs.”

“It all started a year before the gigs in Holland when I was in the US. Trumpeter Tom Kirkpatrick gave me a hint of Young’s wherabouts in Washington D.C. He had moved to Washington because he wanted to earn a living to support the study of his son. Tom told me that Webster was still playing. We met and worked out an understanding for the performances in The Netherlands. He was fragile but played really well and was flabbergasted by all the attention. Fans approached him with LP’s and his music came out of the speakers in clubs, which blew his mind. Unlike Smith, who together with his wife was culturally savvy, Young was overwhelmed by some of our castles and fortresses. He really was like, what is this!”

“At the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Young started to play When Lights Are Low on his own. That was like hearing Miles Davis in 1954. You could hear a pin drop.”

Young’s excellent playing is confirmed by Eddy Determeyer in JazzNU’s issue of April 1992: “Snow white, tiny and suffering from arthritis, Young focuses on the middle register, a terrain filled with honey notes, soft and warm like lover’s embraces. His timing is challenging and Young fills his choruses with fresh melodies.”

(Left: Rein de Graaff, Louis Smith, Webster Young and Eric Ineke, 1992)

For Lady suggests the same pin-dropping power that is referred to by De Graaff. Unlike the bop and hard bop blowing sessions that made up the Prestige catalogue, Young’s sole album as a leader is subdued and moody. Young’s got a great feel for Billie Holiday’s world-weary drama and his performance on For Lady is at similarly stately and blues-drenched. His delivery is at once mournful and defiant. Two of Young’s colleagues are entitled to present a tribute to Lady Day: tenor saxophonist Paul “Vice-Prez” Quinichette and pianist Mal Waldron, both Holiday alumni on stage and in the studio. As a matter of fact, Waldron was Holiday’s accompanist at the time of this recording and would remain so till her death in 1959. Waldron’s own tribute to Holiday, 1959’s Left Alone, is a nice companion piece to For Lady.

Singing the blues is Young’s business and bop is by and large left at the gate. Understatement is key and his tone (on cornet here and incidentally the French cornet that he borrowed from Miles Davis) has the innocence of a young man that’s startin’ out of the gate of big city life, simultaneously vulnerable and assertive. It’s a pleasant mix and one, if you come to think of it, not at all so easily to attain and follow through.

Although Young sounds a bit wobbly on Moanin’ Low, his conception fits God Bless The Child, Strange Fruit, Good Morning Heartache, Don’t Explain and the Young original The Lady like a glove. The inviting opening tune of The Lady is a catchy melody and features typically quirky phrases by Waldron and full-toned, deft contributions by guitarist Joe Puma. Throughout, the smooth and smoky sax of Quinichette effectively turns up the heat a notch after Young’s plaintive stories.

Strange Fruit is a test of sorts. Light swing does not do justice to this story of a lynching, neither does overstated drama, as Nina Simone unfortunately proved much later on. The band’s elegiac treatment is spot on, foreboding drum figures – ‘executioner’s drums’ as liner notes writer Ira Gitler aptly calls it – gradually heighten the tension of Young’s stately homage to Holiday’s natural emotive power. Middle ground is Young’s terrain and he skirts the borders of blues and sophistication very nicely, thank you.

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.



Just for the fun of it I checked all the classic (hard) bop albums I reviewed over the past four years that featured musicians who participated in Stoomcursus & Vervolgcursus Bebop. Stoom & Vervolgcursus Bebop is the series of lectures on modern jazz and performances that the renowned Dutch pianist Rein de Graaff organized in The Netherlands from 1987 to 2012. De Graaff invited over American legends and unsung heroes for performances with contemporary European and Dutch counterparts. Almost without exception, the musicians were accompanied by his regular trio of bassists Koos Serierse (1936-2017) and Marius Beets, and the extraordinary drummer Eric Ineke.

The lectures and performances have been enormously valuable to the Dutch and European jazz landscape. De Graaff delivered his insightful introductions with understated humor. Season after season, Dutch jazz fans were treated to performances by legendary American jazz men and women that they never would have experienced in such an intimate setting would not the now semi-retired Rein de Graaff have taken great pains to locate them from practically all the States that do not begin with an ‘I’. He has been a straight-forward and acclaimed organizer. Plays mean piano too.

Here’s my check. Quite the list:

Marcus Belgrave, James Clay, Al Cohn, Junior Cook, Ronnie Cuber, Eddie Daniels, Charles Davis, Teddy Edwards, Art Farmer, Frank Foster, Curtis Fuller, Johnny Griffin, Barry Harris, Red Holloway, Clifford Jordan, Harold Land, Charles McPherson, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Dave Pike, Julian Priester, Billy Root, Doug Sides, Louis Smith, James Spaulding and Art Taylor.

(Advertising poster 1987/88; Buck Hill, Teddy Edwards and Von Freeman 1991/92); Marchel Ivery, David “Fathead” Newman and the Rein de Graaff Trio 1989/90; Source: Coen de Jonge’s Belevenissen In Bebop. (Passage, 1997); Photography Anko Wieringa)

They usually performed at Vredenburg in Utrecht, Oosterpoort in Groningen and at small venues around the country. Many of these jazz greats stayed at De Graaff’s place in the village of Veendam, Groningen, where they were treated by their friendly host to a hearty breakfast and a view on the flat, wide and open spaces of the Northern countryside…

Coming season at the Flophouse Theatre: Billy Mitchell and Sal Nistico. Both Stoomcursus alumni. I’m not doing it on purpose. Those cats just keep wanderin’ through the backdoor!

Rein de Graaff

Pianist Rein de Graaff (Groningen, 1942) recorded more than 40 albums, both as a leader and in cooperation with numerous Americans and fellow Europeans. De Graaff played with Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Clark Terry, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Stitt, Philly Joe Jones and many others. He won the Boy Edgar Prijs in 1980 and the Bird Award at North Sea Jazz Festival in 1986. Rein de Graaff semi-retired this year, adding a salute the end of his career with a widely publicized and successful farewell tour.

Read my interview with Rein de Graaff here. And my interview with his longtime companion Eric Ineke here.

The Rein de Graaff Trio featuring tenor saxophonist Sjoerd Dijkhuizen performs at Café Pavlov in The Hague on Sunday 8 September at 16:00.

Rein de Graaff - Early Morning Blues

Rein de Graaff with Marius Beets & Eric Ineke Early Morning Blues (Timeless 2019)


Legendary Dutch bop pianist Rein de Graaff combines his forthcoming farewell tour with the release of a brand-new album, Early Morning Blues.

Rein de Graaff - Early Morning Blues


Rein de Graaff (piano), Marius Beets (bass), Eric Ineke (drums)


on June 27 & 28, 2018 at De Smederij, Zeist


as TI 487 in 2019

Track listing

These Are The Things
Early Morning Blues
Dear Old Stockholm
Don’t Blame Me
Little Girl Blue
Fly Me To The Moon
Lover Man
If I Had You
Early Morning Blues (alt. take)

Yes, that’s the bad news: De Graaff is retiring as a professional jazz musician. The good news: fifty years after his recording debut, the Groningen-born De Graaff delivers a jazz album that serves as but one example in his discography of the man’s masterly involvement in bebop and straight-ahead jazz. Self-acknowledged part of a small coterie of Last Of The Mohicans, De Graaff is of the opinion that straightforward jazz is hard to come by these days. No doubt, the fruitful, pre-crossover mainstream jazz landscape of the seventies and eighties, including countless playing venues and American legends carrying the flame, is by and large a thing of the past. Yet, considering the crowds that De Graaff has still drawn post-00, perhaps mostly consisting of elderly fans but also of a fair amount of youngsters, evidently the bop master has still inspired jazz aficionados and passed the peas to aspiring musicians one way or another. I was present at a rare jazz café appearance of De Graaff recently in The Hague – the 77-year old pianist usually appears strictly in jazz clubs and theatres – and noticed more than a few young lions eager to soak in everything De Graaff conjured up from the upright piano. To be sure, De Graaff has always made it his business to feature exceptional young talents on his tour schedules.

At said café Pavlov, De Graaff’s playing was remarkably fresh and energetic. Few human beings are as composed and level-headed as Rein de Graaff, who during a remarkable career as a leader and accompanist of countless legends like Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Mobley and Johnny Griffin also was the owner of an electro ware wholesale company. His straightforward personality is reflected in logical phrases and musical stories. However, the blues and a certain edge are consistently present. Most likely, De Graaff has always reserved the fiery and sleazy side of the soul for his horn-like piano style, which was inspired so long ago by the work of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Hampton Hawes, among others.

Plenty of fire in the set of Early Morning Blues, which typically consists of standards and a couple of originals and contrafacts that are tailor-made for the tasteful, long-lined stories of De Graaff. It ranges from evergreens as Dear Old Stockholm, Avalon, Fly Me To The Moon and the unaccompanied Little Girl Blue, ballads that were transformed into bop anthems by Charlie Parker like Don’t Blame Me and Lover Man, bebop compositions as George Wallington’s Godchild and Benny Harris’s Wahoo and, finally, the De Graaff compositions These Are The Things, Early Morning Blues (The album features two takes of the down-home, supple slow blues) and Moonology.

The trio interaction is marvelous. European master drummer Eric Ineke has been De Graaff’s partner-in-swing for nearly fifty years, bassist Marius Beets is a versatile modern jazz man whose pocket and immaculate choice of notes reveal a passion for Ray Brown and has been with De Graaff since 1999. Multiple examples of the group’s striking flexibility are available, Avalon and Dear Old Stockholm being particularly enchanting. Nowadays one would be hard-pressed to find the kind of cocksure and authoritative introduction of a tune like the trio’s uptempo version of Avalon. The concise combination of drum rolls, bass patterns and quicksilver piano lines is like a shot of classic jazz, like hearing for instance, filtered through their distinct personalities, bits of Sonny Clark’s Trio LP with Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. De Graaff’s sophisticated harmony and Ineke’s flexible approach of the beat considerably refreshes Dear Old Stockholm. It allows De Graaff the kind of freedom within a fixed set of changes that the pianist has always been comfortable with.

In this respect, De Graaff’s daring variations on the melody of Lover Man speak volumes. Right until the very end, the Rein de Graaff Trio is seriously takin’ care of business.

Rein de Graaff

Find Early Morning Blues at your local music store and De Graaff concerts. Liner notes by Steven A. Cerra.

Check out the schedule of Rein de Graaff’s Farewell Tour below. His regular trio of Marius Beets and Eric Ineke will be augmented with saxophonists Benjamin Herman, Maarten Hoogenhuis, Marco Kegel and Tineke Postma. Special guest: baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber.

Fri March 1: De Tor, Enschede
Sat March 2: Mahogany Hall, Edam
Sun March 3: Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht 16:00 (feat. Ronnie Cuber)
Wed March 6: Brouwerij Martinus, Groningen
Fri March 8: De Harmonie, Leeuwarden
Sat March 10:Theater van Beresteyn, Veendam 15:00
Fri March 15:Bimhuis, Amsterdam (feat. Ronnie Cuber)

Tenor & Alto Madness


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

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

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

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