On Impulse, To me, again a very personal compilation of tracks I recorded a little over 2 year's time.Each track has it's own story to it which can be emotional, angry, energetic, happy, dark, colourful but definitely impulsive.A lot has happened to me during this period of time.Amongst things, I tried to celebrate the birth and growth of my son Caspar on a couple of these tunes specifically, but I think it sounds throughout the project.It
turned out rather produced but always started out as kind of an improvisation on drums or rough sketch on guitar. Also the move of my studio in Holland, to Germany near Bremen has had a major impact on the quality of these recordings. A very inspiring workspace for sure.Thanks to all featured musicians & personalities, the compositions really got to another level. With this release I feel I'm one big step closer towards where I want to be as a musician, composer & producer.Sincerely hope you'll enjoy this episode.
I believe this was the very 1st tune composed especially for this album. I had just released 'U-Turn' (Abstractlogix Records 2009).I'm a huge fan of Mike Outram's guitar playing. I moved to London in 2003 and remember attending my first jazz gig there at a club called The 606. A straight ahead Jazz kinda gig and it didn't seem to be very inspired music until Mike Outram got to take a solo. Everybody in the room got excited and I went straight up to him after the show to ask his number so I could call him soon as I got a gig myself. He was so nice to be into that without knowing me at all. His solo fits perfectly with the vibe of the song. Mike deserves a lot of credit making this such a special recording to me.
When my son turned 1 years old, I made him a tiny drumset out of the kit I used to work with in the UK. It's now got a 12"bassdrum , 10"floortom, 8"snare with splash-cymbals as hi-hats, another larger splash as crash and an 16"ride with rivets.Caspar totally loves it, and I wanted to use it for fun on one of my tunes. To make it sound as if the pitch of the sound was edited all the way up.The Se Electronics Gemini II microphone made the bassdrum sound as if it was much larger than it looks. Almost like a surdo drum.I had such a laugh listening back to what I had quickly recorded. It was easy to make some loops out of that, After that I glued a new part to it with a more open feel where the solos would be. The tune was roughly put together in only a few hours. So how cool is it to eventually have two of my heroes play on this?Randy Brecker ánd Jim beard did such a great job filling it in. Really proud of this one since it was such an impulsive idea, not taking it serious at all at first.
On U-Turn, there's a version if this composition. It's called Caspar, after my son who was just born when I wrote it. I asked both Steve Hunt & Gary Husband to solo on it. I was under the impression Steve was a bit too busy at the time, so while touring with Gary, we tracked it in my studio. The same day Steve surprised me with a solo on the same tune. It ended up almost impossible choosing between the two. So I thought Caspar's 2nd name is Tristan and why not make a whole different version of the same track?:)I used ac. guitar on Tristan and Oscar Schulze recorded vibes and bells to it. My dad dubbed bowed double bass on a few parts to make it quite spherical and pretty. Evan Marien laid down the fretless basspart. Super happy with the end-result of this alternative take.
A short formed composition in 7/8 with all these weird accents here and there. Composed for my dear friend Helge Rudolph who has been helping me out on many occasions over the years. He enjoyed a track on U-Turn called Stevenage which is also in 7, so I kept that in mind. Nigel Hitchcock recorded a mind blowing soprano solo over it as if it's just any other tune in 4/4. I'm so happy to have met him coz I believe he's one of the most amazing saxophonists of this time. I hope this album helps getting him a little more recognition for his musicianship and virtuosity.
This one is dedicated to my girl. I wanted to compose a ballad-like vibe that could fit a joy-full mood. Something unexpected. I like the idea a lot of making music with somewhat of a story, feeling or images in mind. Randy Brecker was nice enough to help me out again playing the melody and solo fills. I love how Oscar's vibraphone playing blends in so well with the guitar part. As if it's one sound all together, like a pad or orchestral ambiance.
I had a little sketch of a form and played it to Oscar Schulze. I didn't think much of it, until he dubbed it with vibes and bells and put a percussive loop under it in 5/4. It inspired me to try and play something similar on drums to replace it and complete the form. I had just heard about Nigel Hitchcock so this gave me the opportunity to ask him to play over it. He had no problem improvising through the changes and gave it something very special. After that I wanted to ask him again straight away, coz it made the music go in a whole other direction. My previous albums were always more guitar/keyboard orientated. Now I knew what I had missed a bit in my previous recordings and found the perfect guy for the job!Frans Vollink has been my 1st call bassplayer since 10+ years now. He knows exactly what I like to hear and again takes my compositions to another level. I'm fortunate to have this guy in my band. One of the very best out there.
7. Walking Distance
A tune I wrote somewhere in the year 2001. Together with my friend, a bassplayer called Udo Pannekeet (we studied together in Amsterdam), we constantly kept on recording demos and ideas for future purposes or just practise. We had this trio called Isotope together with Rob van Bavel on keys and just released our debut album. My very first CD!We got all excited to get a new one done asap, so a lot of ideas came out. This one never made it on the 2nd album. I tried to record it for my 1st solo release 'Agressive Attack', but we tracked at the studio of the conservatoire in Amsterdam, and the engineer messed up the tapes and recorded another band over our session! 2 years ago the original demo turned up while cleaning my studio. The melody has something sweet and simple to it. I played it to my son who just started to learn how to walk short distances between the table and his toys. Hence the title. You can hear him running around and singing a little through the intro. If you listen closely, you can even hear me jumping into the pool behind my parents house in Bücken, Germany. The Pool is right next to my studio:) I tried to celebrate some of the simple joys in life as they come with this piece of music.
Jazz/fusion to me is just a label on music which sometimes gets a bit in the way coz of all the influences anybodies music can have. This track is very produced and rather complex on its own. Having Francesco Cottone sing on it gave it a far more recognisable character. It became very dear to me, coz it carries a personal message about my view on life, personalities, friendships and love in general.I'll definitely have more vocals on future recordings coz it has major impact on the overall vibe of a song in this genre of music. It makes labelling more difficult, which I like.Oscar Schulze did a wonderful job again on vibraphone and Evan Marien surprised me a lot with his beautiful lines flowing through all the chords and meters.
9. Value 1st
During the recordings of this album I went through loads of changes and moods. Almost like a little movie (nobody would care to see, haha), which inspired me to create music that would fit to certain parts of this imaginable motion-picture. Many artist have had the same idea long before me and I think its a great idea to give more depth to the material we make/compose/record. Whenever I listen back to these songs, those images and moods pop up again in mind. So I feel it turned out rather personal again. Rob van Bavel played all these pretty melodies within his solo. He's one of my absolute favourite musicians, always able to surprise you with the biggest ease while improvising through chords and structures. I did a small tour with Frans Vollink and Mike Outram at the time so it made a lot of sense to have them play on this song as well. Mike recorded on a broken amp we had to kick every once in a while to get the buzz out of it. Mike didn't make a big deal out of it like always and made it sound awesome again. All in the fingers, not the equipment for sure. the guy deserves a medal:)
10. Round About Now
This is another composition I wrote back in 2001. I listened to it far too much while writing it and ended up not liking it any more.It
was meant to be included on my first solo effort 'Agressive Attack' again. In acoustic setting with grand piano, soprano sax and double bass.Every once in a while I'd listen back to it, but I only started to seriously work on it in 2009. Finally with the help of Frans Vollink and Rob van Bavel, who played these beautiful solos I ended up loving it. It's a simple form and proof that if you got the right musicians around you, you can make just about anything work.
This is a really cool composition by Frans Vollink. He wrote it little before we went on tour with Randy Brecker. We did one quick version on a previous album, but I liked so much playing it live, that I wanted to include a new version on this project as well. Nigel Hitchcock blew me away with his playing on this take. Killer solo and contributions from everybody.Frans truly shines on here as a composer and virtuoso bas splayer.