Thursday, April 21, 2011

Robert Rook Quartet: Tribute to Jochem


I found that everything I heard was more than accurate. He possesses great imagination; energy with a contemporary vision. (Billy Hart at the liner notes)
Hans Koert

Robert Rook Quartet brengt Tribute To Jochem (Nederlands) Robert Rook Quartet: Tribute to Jochem (English)

The Robert Rook Quartet recently released its fifth album, entitled Tribute To Jochem. The Robert Rook Quartet features the tenor saxophone player Rob Armus, who lives in Paris now, Norwegian born double bass player Thomas Winther Andersen and Dutch drummer Victor De Boo. This albums was recorded in Arnhem (The Netherlands), September 2009, after Robert's half year stay in New York City. The title Tribute To Jochem, a Thomas Andersen composition, refers to a request Thomas received to compose a tune for his friends late son Jochem - that tune was entitled Tribute to Jochem and was selected as the title of the album.
Thomas Winther Andersen - Dick Verbeek - Robert Rook (photo courtesy: Hans Speekenbrink)

The album contains half a dozen Andersen compositions and half a dozen Robert Rook's own compositions. Robert, who graduated in mathematics, gave it puzzling titles like the Hilbert Hotel, Principle Of The Least Action, Prime Twins and Law of the Excluded Third - well, for those who are no wizards at mathematics, like me, these weird titles refer to some basic elements in mathematics. So, watch out, you can't book a room at the Hilbert Hotel, as it is better known in mathematics as Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel and 3 and 5 or 11 and 13 are labeled as Prime Twins ..............
Robert Rook was born in Utrecht ( in the centre of The Netherlands) and studied Mathematics at the University of Utrecht. He raised in a household filled with music - mother played classical music and his father loved to play the piano รก la Oscar Peterson. Robert started, like so many Dutch children, with the recorder before he started to learn to play the piano.
Dick Verbeeck - Robert Rook - Thomas Winther Andersen. (photo courtesy: Hans Speekenbrink)

Vanaf het begin speelde ik voornamelijk op mijn gehoor, dat zat er gewoon in ( = From the start I loved to play, most of the times, by ear), he told Ira Kuntz in an interview a few years ago, for the Jazz Bulletin, the magazine of the Dutch Jazz Archive, and that may be a reason that he never wanted to go to the conservatorium at a later age. Ik heb eigenlijk ook nooit serieus nagedacht over het conservatorium (= I really haven't thought seriously about going to the Conservatory). Why should he? The great jazz legends, like Bird and Trane never had such a training. Die legden een plaat op de platenspeler en speelden die gewoon op hun gehoor mee (= They just played a record on their gramophone and played the music by ear).

Thomas Winther Andersen

As a student he had numerous gigs with his band and one day Wim Overgauw, who was in those days a featured guitar player, joined the band. Wim heard Robert playing and learned that they both loved to play by ear. He adviced Robert to develop this natural playing, not by visiting a conservatory or what so ever. He still loves to improvise. He's not a composer, who sits down and writes tunes, like his fellow band member Thomas W. Andersen, who composed half of the tracks on Tribute to Jochem. Robert Rook's compositions, like The Hilbert Hotel, Ordinals and Prime Twins, to list some, were born as improvisations and, finally, notated on staves. A tune like Prime Twins seems to have developed from a simple two tones theme into a full improvised composition. I loved the openings tune Hilbert Hotel and the up-tempo Realizability, with long lines improvisations by Rob Armus's tenor sax.

The album Tribute To Jochem contains two cds with a total playing time of 1 hrs and 40 minutes of great music; a twofer that should be in your collection. It can be ordered at Robert Rook's homepage.

Hans Koert

The twofer Tribute to Jochem was my first introduction to the music of Robert Rook with more then a hundred minutes of high level jazz. His compositions were born during numerous improvisations, which developed from a few notes into the lenghtly themes on this album. Robert loves to improvise at the piano with his band members, tenor saxophone player Rob Armus and his rhythm section featuring double bass player (and co-composer) Thomas Winther Andersen and drummer Victor De Boo. European jazz on a high level .....! Keep Swinging enjoyed this great album. If you don't want to miss any promising group or enjoyable album, follow the Keep Swinging blog at Twitter or ask for its free newsletter.

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