The Dutch Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1983 by saxophonist Albert Beltman and trombonist Paul Woesthuis, who had located a number unrecorded charts by Thad Jones. The idea was to rehearse the scores and then invite Jones to conduct. The first version of the band had Rob Bruyne, Klaas Wit, Willem Reinen, Jan Faas, and Jan Hollander on trumpet, Paul Woesthuis, Joan Reijnders, Pieter van den Dolder, and Ben van Dijk on trombone, Albert Beltman, Hans Meijdam, Ab Schaap, Toon Roos, and Max Bourree on saxophone, and Rob Madna on piano, Harry Emmery on bass, and Erik Ineke on drums. The musical direction was in the hands of Rob Madna.
As it turned out, Thad Jones was not available for the project due to circumstances, and Madna suggested Jerry van Rooijen. He was back in the Netherlands as the producer for AVRO public radio, and was free. Van Rooijen agreed to front the band, and he was impressed by what he heard. Word of his new orchestra quickly got out, and the NOS Jazz Festival committed Jerry to write and perform a jazz suite with the still unnamed band. Jerry suggested to call the band the “Dutch Jazz Orchestra” and that name stuck.
The 1984 concert was registered for television, but never broadcasted. By then, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra had registered as a non-profit organization. Many formal and informal concerts followed, with soloistic support from the likes of Toots Thielemans, Ferdinand Povel, Humphrey Campbell, Georgie Fame, and Piet Noordijk. In 1986, NOS public television broadcast a TV special which highlighted not only the orchestra but also its educational activities, to which the orchestra is still dedicated: as much as possible, young talented musicians are invited to participate in rehearsals and concerts, and more than once they have stayed as regular members for a prolonged period.
With Jerry’s new assignment as director in chief of the WDR Big Band -- which among others resulted in an interesting double-concert with the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, in 1986 in Heerlen -- his availability came more and more under pressure. From 1991 Rob Pronk temporarily led the orchestra in its weekly Monday evening concerts at the BIM-huis, the famous Amsterdam jazz venue. It was a period of transition and the orchestra’s personnel went through various changes. Over time, Rob Madna left, as did Paul Woesthuis, Joan Reijnders, Henk Huizinga, Jan Hollander, Rob Bruyne, Klaas Wit, Max Boerree and Ben van Dijk. They were replaced by students as well as renowned musicians: Jarmo Hoogendijk, Erik Vloeimans, Jan Oosting, Marco Kegel, Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, Gerard Kleijn, Nils van Haften, Michiel Borstlap, Rob van Kreeveld, Rob van Bavel, and Jan Oosthof.
This transitory period led to a reorientation, and 1992 proved to be the watershed year. Jerry van Rooijen was asked back and the orchestra decided to work more on a project basis. The band found a new stable roster of personnel which largely remains to this day: Jan Oosthof, Ruud Breuls, Erik Veldkamp, Peter van Soest and Mike Booth, trumpet, Jan Oosting, Ilja Reijngoud and Martin van den Berg, trombone, Albert Beltman, Hans Meijdam, Ab Schaap, Toon Roos, and Nils van Haften, saxophones, Rob van Bavel, piano, Harry Emmery, bass, and Erik Ineke, drums (for the most actual line-up). Public radio corporations, such as TROS, NOS and Radio Netherlands International (RNI) as well as various funding organizations were asked to provide financial backing.
The first project at hand was a concert that celebrated Jerry’s 65th birthday, in 1992. Recordings were made in the days preceding the concert (issued as Jerry van Rooijen: On the Scene with the Dutch Jazz Orchestra), with as soloists Humphrey Campbell, Rob Madna, Rick Kiefer and Ack van Rooijen. Because of this record, Jerry was nominated for an Edison Award, the Dutch Grammy Award. The next project was realized in 1994, again in collaboration with RNI, this time evolving around the music of Rob Madna, which led to a double-CD Update: Music from Rob Madna. New additions to the band were Hansjörg Fink and Martijn Sohier, trombone, and Frans van der Hoeven, bass. The CD had to be issued independently, because at the time no record company was interested. Luckily this will be corrected shortly as the orchestra plans to record two more CDs with Madna music, to be released in 2008.
That same year, Albert Beltman hooked up with musicologist Walter van de Leur, who was working on his book on Billy Strayhorn. In archives in the United States he had discovered dozens of apparently unrecorded Strayhorn compositions and arrangements, and the orchestra set out to perform and record them. Over the course of seven years, from 1995 to 2002, four CDs with hitherto obscure material Strayhorn saw the light, and the orchestra did a number of concerts. These groundbreaking records put Billy Strayhorn’s music back on the map, and they received international acclaim. In Challenge Records the orchestra found a new partner to release and distribute its CDs. Though much of the orchestra’s efforts went to recording and performing Strayhorn’s forgotten scores, other composer-arrangers and bandleaders received attention as well, especially if the orchestra’s artistic team felt that (part of) their work had been unjustly neglected. The Dutch Jazz Orchestra initiated projects with the music of Boyd Raeburn, Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Claude Thornhill, Gil Evans, and Gerry Mulligan. It has led to CD productions and concerts (often at the North Sea Jazz Festival), and at times with soloists who had been members of the original bands.
An important new addition to the band was clarinetist John Ruocco, who took care of the Barney Bigard/Jimmy Hamilton chair for the Strayhorn recordings, and eventually replaced Jerry van Rooijen, who gradually saw himself forced to reduce his workload. At other occasions, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra has been led by trumpeter-arranger Jan Wessels.
The Dutch Jazz Orchestra’s current line-up is Jan Oosthof, Ruud Breuls, Erik Veldkamp, Peter van Soest and Mike Booth, trumpet, Martijn Sohier, Ilja Reijngoud, Hansjörg Fink and Martin van den Berg, trombone, Albert Beltman, Hans Meijdam, Ab Schaap, Simon Rigter, John Ruocco, and Nils van Haften, reeds, Rob van Bavel, piano, Martijn van Iterson, guitar, Jan Voogd, bass, and Marcel Serierse, drums. The orchestra’s leaders are alternately John Ruocco or Jan Wessels. Over the years, the orchestra played among others with Ack van Rooijen, Adriana Romijn, Benny Bailey, Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, David Murray, Ernst Reijseger, Ferdinand Povel, George Coleman, Georgie Fame, Greetje Kauffeld, Humphrey Campbell, Johnny Griffin, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Lydia van Dam, Marjorie Barnes, Peter Herbolzheimer, Philip Catherine, Phil Woods, Piet Noordijk, Rick Kiefer, Rita Reijs, Rob Madna, Rob van Kreeveld, Stephon Harris, and Toots Thielemans. © Dutch Jazz Orchestra
25th anniversary of the Dutch Jazz Orchestra
Recording big band project of compositions and arrangements from Jazzmusician Rob Madna.
Concerttour music of Boyd Raeburn and Mary Lou Williams.
North Sea Jazz Festival "The Dutch Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Boyd Raeburn".Featuring Buddy DeFranco and Lydia van Dam. Recording CD Mary Lou Williams.
Concerttour "The American Impressionists"
North Sea Jazz Festival. "The American Impressionists". Music of Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan, featuring Lee Konitz.
Concerttour "Multi-Colored Blue".
Nomination Bird Award.
North Sea Jazz Festival. "Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn", featuring Marjorie Barnes. Presentation 4CD-Box "The Dutch Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Billy Strayhorn", in Felix Merites, Amsterdam. Concerttour "Multi-Colored Blue".
North Sea Jazz Festival. "The Dutch Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Mary Lou Williams". Concerttour "The American Impressionists". Muziek van Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, George Handy, and contemporaries.
North Sea Jazz Festival. The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, featuring Johnny Griffin, George Coleman, Benny Baily, Ack van Rooijen, Greetje Kaufeld, Roberta Gambarini and Stefon Harris. Anniversary concert for Ack and Jerry van Rooijen.
North Sea Jazz Festival. "The Bird Winners Concert", featuring Rita Reys, Clark Terry, Ernst Reijsiger, David Murray and Philip Catherine. Concert "Duke Ellington, One Hunderd Year", VPRO-television (Han Reiziger)
North Sea Jazz Festival. The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, featuring Ack van Rooijen. Theathertour "Fantastic Rhythm: The Lost Theater Works of Billy Strayhorn", featuring Marjorie Barnes. In cooperation with Theatergroep Hollandia.
Concerttour "The Ellington-Strayhorn Suites".
North Sea Jazz Festival. "The Dutch Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Rob Madna". Concert with Dr. John.
North Sea Jazz Festival. "Portrait of a Silk Thread: Newly Discovered Works of Billy Strayhorn". Concert and masterclasses in Pittsburgh, USA at the invitation of the International Duke Ellington Society. Nomination Edison-award for CD "Jerry van Rooyen On the Scene with The Dutch Jazz Orchestra".
Concerttour "Jerry van Rooyen On the Scene with The Dutch Jazz Orchestra".
Copyright © 2009, Dutch Jazz Orchestra. All rights reserved.
Martijn van den Berg (btrb)
Albert Beltman (as)
Hans Meijdam (as)
Jan Voogd (b)
Marcel Serierse (drms)
Albert Beltman - Artistic Director
Walter van de Leur - Research
Concert and masterclasses in Pittsburgh, 1995.
Rob van Bavel, piano, Toon Roos, tenor saxophone.