Ack Van Rooyen, Koos van Beurden, Ado Broodboom (tp), Jerry Van Rooyen (tp, p), Rudy Bosch (tb), Cees Smal (v-tb), Karel Reys, Tony Vos, Piet Noordijk (as), Jan Morks (cl), Toon van Vliet, Flip van Glabbeek, Harry Verbeke, Ruud Brink (ts), Herman Schoonderwalt (bs), Rob Pronk, Henk Vos, Rob Madna, Stido Alstrøm, Rein Verbeek, Frans Elsen, Wim van Beelen, Pim Jacobs (p), Coen van Nassou (vib), Robby Pauwels, Flip Willemsen (g), Dick Bezemer, Børge Ring, Chris Bender, Hans Weelink, Henk de Jong, Ruud Jacobs, Dick van der Capelle, Eddy de Has (b), Wessel Ilcken, Fred Gilhuys, Jan Goedkoop, Cees See, Tony Funke-Küpper, Ruud Pronk, Hank Brink (d), Rita Reys (vcl)
Bar code: 8427328611121
2-CD Box Set · 28-Pages Booklet
4 Original LPs + 3 EPs
Includes detailed personnel, recording dates and original back-liner notes
In the late 1940s, a new generation of jazz musicians emerged in the Netherlands. They had begun modeling their music on the bebop style, the “modern jazz” with which Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie had revolutionized the American scene. However, the general misunderstanding of the new style due to their limited access to the original recordings hindered its spread among jazz enthusiasts. These early alliances of local musicians with bebop rarely had enough support from local fans, and there wasn't much interest from record companies either. It took time for listeners to understand what the new style entailed, and bebop became a source of controversy, dividing the ranks of jazz fans into modernists and traditionalists.
Starting in 1954, as the flame of bebop slowly faded, modernists began to get caught up in the West Coast jazz craze. Suddenly the scene was activated and several engaging groups of different line-ups began to appear. They managed to deliver competent performances punctuated with notable solos to critical acclaim and good reception from fans. This new interest resulted in the first Dutch recordings of modern jazz in 1955, that saw the light in 1956 on the Columbia 10-inch album “Jazz from Holland”, an indisputable example of the level reached by Dutch musicians who favored the cool, more relaxed West Coast sound, relying more on composition and arrangements than bebop free style improvisation. This initial recording effort by Bovema's Gerry Oord inspired producer Michiel de Ruyter to record the best Dutch small groups and bands for a three-volume series of LPs titled “Jazz Behind the Dikes,” as well as several EP singles released between 1955 and 1957 by Philips. The Dutch magazine “Rhythme” boasted that thanks to their “top performances,” the featured combos received international praise from “jazz connoisseurs on all four continents of the world.”
This 2-CD set contains all of these historic recordings for your listening pleasure.
"In a blindfold test of any of the 52 selections included on the two-CD set Cool Jazz From Holland, even the most dedicated collectors of 1950s jazz would never guess that the music was recorded in Holland by Dutch musicians. While many of the European groups that tried to record bebop during 1945-50 sounded a bit awkward as they sought to learn the new music, there is no such difficulty heard on these performances from 1955-57. Whether these were the very first Dutch recordings of what was at the time modern jazz (there were some earlier isolated sessions), certainly these musicians were ready in 1955 to be permanently documented.
There were three stages in the development of European jazz. First the musicians had to learn jazz, then they mastered the prevailing American styles, and finally they developed some of their own innovators. In the 1950s most Europeans modern jazz artists were very much in the second stage, becoming quite adept at playing West Coast cool jazz and bebop. The innovators (other than a select few such as Django Reinhardt) would not arrive until the mid-1960s and the rise of the avant-garde.
While singer Rita Reys became a star and would later record with some Americans (including Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers), such Dutch musicians as altoists Karel Reys and Tony Vos, pianists Rob Madna, Rob Pronk (who sounds a bit like Russ Freeman and also doubles on trumpet), Stido Alstrom, Frans Elsen, and Pim Jacobs, baritonist Herman Schoonderwalt (also playing clarinet and alto), and tenor-saxophonist Harry Verbeke show on these recordings that they were on the level of their American counterparts and deserve to be discovered by today’s jazz listeners.
This is a very generous two-CD set with nearly 160 minutes of music. All of the selections originally on two 12-inch Lps, three 10-inch Lps, and eight 7-inch Eps (other than one vocal number left out due to lack of space) are included and reissued in chronological order including the three albums in the Jazz Behind The Dikes series. In addition to a page of notes from the reissue’s producer Jordi Pujol, all of the original liner notes are included in the 28-page booklet.
Do not even hesitate to pick up this valuable, fascinating and very musical set. It gives one an opportunity to discover a lot of talent that has always been largely unknown to Americans."
—Scott Yanow (May, 2022)
Los Angeles Jazz Scene
"European jazz of the 1950s has long fascinated me. World War II killed and injured tens of millions of people and seriously damaged countries' infrastructure, economies and the emotions of surviving populations. And yet, the optimism in these newly freed countries, supported by America's financial and military security, put them on track to recovery. As early as the late 1940s, modern jazz, with its improvisational expression and emphasis on the individual, became one of the few diversions that Europeans found in sync with the new spirit of freedom and a bright tomorrow.
Young European musicians who came of age in the late 1940s and at the dawn of the 1950s fell in love with American bebop and cool jazz recordings brought over by touring American musicians and then released there by European distributors. Once European musicians deciphered how to play modern jazz, dozens of great arrangers and artists emerged and united to form groups, recording on newly established European labels in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm and elsewhere. The quality of the jazz remains remarkably excellent.
When we think of 50s jazz in Europe, we often think of artists such as the UK's Ronnie Scott, Victor Feldman, Johnny Dankworth, Tony Crombie and Jack Parnell; Belgium's Bobby Jaspar, Fats Sadi, René Thomas, Toots Thielemans, Jack Sels and Francy Boland; France's Henri Renaud, Roger Guérin, Pierre Michelot, Maurice Vander and Sacha Distel; and Sweden's Lars Gullin, Rolf Ericson, Arne Domnérus, Ake Persson, Gunnar Svensson and Rolf Blomquist. Plus dozens of others, including young jazz musicians from Germany, Italy and Austria.
Now, we have a new box on jazz in the Netherlands between 1955 and 1957. Released last month, "Cool Jazz From Holland" (Fresh Sound) is a two-CD set with a 28-page booklet that details the Dutch contribution with small group and big band recordings of Bop and of Cool Jazz prominent on America's West Coast. The set features one fabulous harmony-rich, driven recording after the next. In fact, there are no bad tracks on this box. All 52 tracks are fabulous. You can listen from start to finish without ever skipping over any of the songs. And if I gave you a blindfold test, you'd swear I was playing you jazz recorded in Hollywood or New York in the '50s.
I last posted about Dutch jazz nearly a year ago when I wrote about Rob Madna and Frans Wieringa. This new box features Madna and includes groups led by Rob Pronk, Wessel Ilcken, Tony Vos, Stido Alstrøm, Rita Reys, Herman Schoonderwalt, Frans Elsen and Pim Jacobs. I've already listened to this set five times and love every minute of it. Cool Jazz From Holland is one of my favorite historical sets of the year. The tracks were issued years ago on a variety of albums that are long out of print. This box brings this great music into the present and proves that the Netherlands was at the forefront of the European jazz movement.
What's most remarkable is the Dutch passion for the West Coast's relaxed sound. That's likely a result of Dutch musicians falling in love with the breezy, sophisticated quality of Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, Russ Freeman and others. As readers of my book, Why Jazz Happened know, I've always viewed West Coast jazz and its popularity as the product of Los Angeles optimism and musicians' upward mobility in the 50s. It turns out that the West Coast sound reflects the optimism of anyone who feels gloriously free and happy to be alive."
—Marc Myers (April 6, 2022)
"If you're a fan of the West Coast Cool sounds of the 1950s, try taking a trip to Holland on this album of guys that drank from the same well. You're not going to no the names, in fact you might not even be able to pronounce the names, but don’t let that dissuade you from imbibing some of the most sublimely swinging sounds this side of Stan Getz, Chet Baker and Shorty Rogers.
This two disc set includes a surfeit of small group sessions that rival anything that California had to offer back in the same period. You've got an alto saxist named Karel Reys who is a mix of Art Pepper and Phil Woods on swinging affairs like “Indiana” and “Roxy.” Pianists Pim Jacobs and Rob Madna bop like Bud Powell in trio sessions on “Lady Bird” and “First Fig” respectively. Harry Verbeke and Cees Small sound like Getz and Brookmeyer sessions on the sublimely swinging “The Beauty of the Ball” and vocalist Rita Reys taps into June Christy on seductive pieces such as a breathy “My Funny Valentine” and a bold “I Should Care.” Biggest ringers are a Buddy DeFranco-ish bopping clarinetist Jan Morks on “Queen,” a Shorty Rogers inspired bigger band for “The Goofer,” a jivey Wessel Ilcken hamming it up on “If You're So Smart, How Come You Ain't Rich” and a guitarist named Robby Pauwels who took his Johnny Smith pills for “All The Things You Are.” The windmills were swinging in Holland during these sessions!"
—George W. Harris (April 11, 2022)