. . .
BEN VAN GELDER, alt saxophone
RAINER BAAS, guitar
HAN BENNINK, drums
. . .
The trio Van Gelder, Baas & Bennink will perform mostly compositions of mine that were specifically written with this trio formation in mind. Furthermore we play compositions by Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk.
. . .
Guitarist Reinier Baas and saxophonist Ben van Gelder are prominent figures in the Dutch music scene, and longtime collaborators. They have played over 150 shows together in the past years, performing as a duo, as a trio with drum legend Han Bennink and with both their quintets. Their joint efforts have resulted in collaboration with the multiple Grammy Award winning Metropole Orkest.
. . .
Ben van Gelder is an authority on the alto saxophone and a composer with a contemporary view. Peers and critics alike praise him for his unique sound and originality as a writer and improviser. His music is rooted in tradition but is distinguished by a unique blend of “lyricism, energy, grace and rhythm.” A native of the Netherlands, Ben grew up in a family with a penchant for music. He decided to pursue music at a young age, performing and studying with many renowned musicians in the Netherlands. In 2006 Ben moved to New York to further his music and academic studies at the New School University.
He took lessons from revered jazz laureates such as Lee Konitz and Mark Turner. It wasn’t long before Ben started performing at some of the city’s major jazz venues. In 2007 Ben led his own group at the Jazz Gallery, a venue that functions as a creative hub for many of today’s most compelling improvising musicians. The performance marked the beginning of a longstanding relationship with the club which has allowed him to experiment with different groups and repertoire throughout the years. He has since played or recorded with many contemporary jazz luminaries including David Binney, Ambrose Akinmusire, Nasheet Waits, Mark Turner, Aaron Parks, John Escreet, Ben Street, Thomas Morgan and Rodney Green.
His highly anticipated debut album, Frame of Reference, released in 2011, features some of the most talented and innovative musicians, including pianist Aaron Parks and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. The record garnered critical acclaim by press worldwide and was accompanied by two successful tours in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. His latest record Reprise (Pirouet), released in September of 2013 was received equally well. The record features guest performances of Mark Turner and Ben Street alongside his regular quintet.
His latest release, Among Verticals (2016), inspired by the painting of Frantisek Kupka, received 5-star reviews in Dutch newspapers NRC and Volkskrant and was presented in eight different countries. His compositions have been arranged for large ensembles such as the Grammy award-winning Metropole Orchestra and the Swiss Jazz Orchestra. Apart from his quintet project, Ben performs regularly with a trio formation that includes drummer Han Bennink and guitarist Reinier Baas.
Over the past years Ben received various awards and grants (vandenendefoundation.nl). The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts recognized his talent by selecting him for the Stan Getz/ Clifford Brown fellowship (nfaa.org). He received the highest honor for his achievements over the course of the program. Ben was also winner of the Deloitte Jazz Award, which is considered to be the most prestigious jazz award in the Netherlands. Most recently he was selected as a semifinalist for the Thelonious Monk Competition. Ben van Gelder is currently on faculty at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he teaches saxophone and improvisation.
. . .
An active bandleader, Reinier Baas has toured with his quintet ‘The More Socially Relevant Jazz Music Ensemble’ in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. His second album ‘Mostly Improvised Instrumental Indie Music’ received the prestigious Edison Award in 2013. In 2015, the North Sea Jazz Festival granted him their annual composition assignment. As a soloist, he has performed with the Metropole Orkest, New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 2016, Baas released his fourth studio record “Reinier Baas vs. Princess Discombobulatrix, a ‘mostly instrumental opera’. This collaboration with illustrator Typex and a line-up of 15 prominent improvisers and classical musicians received wide-spread critical acclaim: “Ravel, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Baas, truly!” - VILLA D'ARTE.
. . .
Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink was born in Zaandam near Amsterdam in 1942. His first percussion instrument was a kitchen chair. Later his father, an orchestra percussionist, supplied him with a more conventional outfit, but Han never lost his taste for coaxing sounds from unlikely objects he finds backstage at concerts. He is still very fond of playing chairs.
In Holland in the 1960s, Bennink was quickly recognized as an uncommonly versatile drummer. As a hard swinger in the tradition of his hero Kenny Clarke, he accompanied touring American jazz stars, including Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Dexter Gordon. He is heard with Gordon on the 1969 album "Live at Amsterdam Paradiso" (on the Affinity label) and with Dolphy on 1964s "Last Date" (PolyGram). At the same time, Bennink participated in the creation of a European improvised music which began to evolve a new identity, apart from its jazz roots. With fellow Dutch pioneers, pianist Misha Mengelberg and saxophonist Willem Breuker, he founded the musicians collective Instant Composers Pool in 1967. Bennink anchored various bands led by Mengelberg or Breuker, and appeared in their comic music-theater productions.
Bennink attended art school in the 1960s, and is also a successful visual artist in several media, often constructing sculpture from found objects, which may include broken drum heads and sticks. He has designed the covers for many LPs and CDs on which he appears. Bennink is represented by Amsterdam's Galerie Espace, and has been the subject of several one-man shows, including one at the Gemeente Museum in the Hague in 1995.
In 1966, Bennink played the US's Newport Jazz Festival with the Mengelberg quartet. From the late 1960s through the '70s Bennink collaborated frequently with Danish, German, English and Belgian musicians, notably saxophonists John Tchicai and Peter Brötzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey and pianist Fred van Hove. Bennink, Brötzmann and van Hove had a longstanding trio well documented on FMP Records. There Bennink also showcased his talents on clarinet, trombone, soprano saxophone and many other instruments, also featured in a series of solo albums he began in 1971.
Bennink's many recordings from the 1980s include sessions with Mengelberg's ICP Orchestra (where he remains), South African bassist Harry Miller, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonists Roswell Rudd and George Lewis, and big-bandleaders Sean Bergin and Andy Sheppard. From 1988 to '98 Bennink's main vehicle was Clusone 3, with saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore and cellist Ernst Reijseger, a band noted for its free-wheeling mix of swinging jazz standards, wide-open improvising, and tender ballads. Clusone played Europe and North America, West Africa, China, Vietnam and Australia, and recorded five CDs for Gramavision, hat Art and Ramboy.
Nowadays he is frequently heard with tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius's quartet and in a trio with pianist/keyboardist Cor Fuhler and bassist Wilbert de Joode, and he still collaborates occasionally with jazz luminaries such as Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman and Ray Anderson. A conspicuous feature of Bennink's musical life since the 1960s is the spontaneous duo concert with musicians of many nationalities and musical inclinations; in the '90s he recorded in duo with among others pianists Mengelberg, Irene Schweizer and Myra Melford, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, trumpeter Dave Douglas and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin. Since 2008 Bennink has his own Han Bennink Trio with Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet and Simon Toldam on piano.