Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rein De Graaff compilation album: Ornithology

Rein de Graaff verzameld: Ornithology (Nederlands) Rein De Graaff compilation album: Ornithology (English)

Series of compilation albums goes back to Rein's Stoomcursussen in Bebop
REIN DE GRAAFF compilation album: ORNITHOLOGY
Hans Koert

One of the most active nesters of jazz in Holland must be Rein De Graaff. Although active in jazz since the late 1960s he seems to put still all his energy into his work. Some times ago I heard him in concert with his trio ( featuring Marius Beets on double bass and Eric Ineke on drums) in a series of concerts dedicated to the music of Lennie Tristano with Gary Foster en Marco Kegel. Last year his third album was released in a series of compilation cds by Timeless, that go back to his famous Cursussen in Bebop.
Rein De Graaff ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
As a kid he became fascinated by jazz thanks to a 78rpm record from his grandfather's collection featuring Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra, entitled Skyliner ( 1944). As a school kid he learned to play the harmonica and later the piano and when he was at student at the HBS (= the Dutch equivalent of the High school) he was
invited to become the piano player of the school band and was a regular listener of Pete Felleman's Swing and Sweet from 52nd Street, a Dutch radio program dedicated to jazz music. Like so many teenagers he learned about jazz reading the only available reference book in Dutch Jazz van New Orleans tot Cool. His first LP was recorded October 1969 in Wageningen entitled Minor Moods - from Past to Present with the Rein De Graaff - Dick Vennik Quartet. During his long career he met hundreds of famous names in jazz, while on tour in Holland, but he also visited the world centre of Jazz: Paris, Copenhagen and New York; a 1979 session with Tom Harrell - Ronnie Cuber - Sam Jones and Louis Hayes is released as Rein De Graaff Quintet - New York Jazz ( Timeless SJP 130). Rein started a series of Stoomcursussen in Jazz since 1987, lectures about jazz history in which he invited to join US musicians in a smaller setting, his trio, featuring Eric Ineke, his companion on drums since the very beginnings and Koos Serierse on bass. With these musicians he toured along Dutch jazz clubs and some have been recorded and released, like Tenor Conclave from the winter of 1991-1992 with Von Freeman, Teddy Edwards and Buck Hill ( Timeless SJP 306), the West Coast Wailers with Conte Candoli and Bob Cooper ( SJP 479); Baritone Explosion with Ronnie Cuber and Nick Brignola; Delightful Duets with Herb Geller or Blue Lights with Herb Geller and John Marshall - the two last ones with Marius Beets on bass, who had replaced Koos Serierse. A lot of those small tours were not released on cd's, so Timeless decided to release a series of compilation albums, in which the album Nostalgia I discussed before, featuring Rein with the Metropole Orchestra, Barry Harris, Gary Foster and Marco Kegel, can be seen as a forerunner.

Rein De Graaff - Ornithology (Timeless CDSJP482)

In fact three compilation albums have been released now: Now Is The Time - Confirmation and last year, Ornithology. The later contains eight tracks from the period 1984 up to 2007. The eldest ones are from the 1980s with musicians like Teddy Edwards, Dave Pike, Harold Land and Valerie Ponomarev and Dave Pike. Teddy Edwards passed away almos
t eight years ago and so did Harold Land ( 2001). The later made a great album in August 1959, entitled The Fox with the legendary trumpet player Dupree Bolton. Valerie Ponomarev, who played at the same session as Harold Land ( March 1988), was one of the members of the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers that visited The Netherlands and played at the Doelen in April 1980 in Rotterdam. It was one of his last concerts with Blakey before a young, unknown trumpet player took over the horn in the band: Wynton Marsalis. Rein De Graaff ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Dave Pike is to be heard in a recording made in July 1986, a year before Rein actually started his Stoomcursus Jazz with, as one of the first guests, Dave Pike again, with Teddy Edwards on tenor sax. In the fall of 1988 Dave Pike and
Charles McPherson joined a recording session at the Monster studios with the Rein De Graaff trio for a Timeless album, entitled Bluebird.
Benjamin Herman ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
On two tracks on the Ornithology compilation album two Dutch musicians made their appearance: reed players Herman Schoonderwalt, then in his 50s, and the enfant terrible on alto sax Benjamin Herman, who could have been the grandson of most of the other guests on this cd, as Jeroen De Valk labels him. They are to be heard on Autumn in New York, recorded almost two years ago.
Frank Morgan ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

One of the most impressive tracks is Parker's Mood, featuring alto saxophone player Frank Morgan, and a Parker follower pure sang. Parker's Mood is delicate, slow, frail, and suggests that alto man Frank Morgan ( 1933-2007) is playing his own requiem. Rein toured with Frank in the fall of 2007 and the concert with Frank Morgan at the
Porgy en Bess Jazz club in Terneuzen ( in the south west part of The Netherlands), was for me one of the most impressive performances I've ever heard.
I remember the introverted alto saxophone player, seated on a stool on stage long before the concert started, surprised by the enthusiast cheers of the audience, while he played as if Bird himself directed his fingers, at one of his last performances.
Peace and Love - he wrote on a piece of paper for me - a valuable relic. ( showed here in negative).
This compilation album can be ordered at Timeless.
Hans Koert
keepswinging@live.nl

Rein De Graaff is well known in The Netherlands for decades thanks to his yearly tours in which he brings almost forgotten bebop musicians out into the open. During the last decades he invited James Spaulding, Gary Smulyan, Pete Christlieb, Johnny Griffin', Al Cohn, Herb Geller, Frank Morgan, Conte Candoli and Gary Foster to list some. Timeless released, as part of a series, its third compilation album dedicated to Rein's music, entitled Ornithology. The Keep Swinging blog listened to this compilation and loves to review it as an homage to Rein's concerts. If you don't want to miss this, follow the Keep swinging blog at Twitter or ask its free newsletter.


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