Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peter Beets and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw: Blues For The Date

Both PETER BEETS as the JAZZ ORCHESTRA of the CONCERTGEBOUW evoke world wide respect.
A quest for that massive sound!
Hans Koert
Peter Beets and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw: Blues For The Date (English) - (later) Peter Beets en het Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw met Blues For The Date. (Nederlands)
Late 1990s the Concert Big Band was invited to become a regular performer of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Dutch music temple for serious music. The band changed its name into the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, like Duke Ellington did in the 1920s with his orchestra renaming it to the clubs where they performed: The Kentucky Club or the Cotton Club. Although the band was a regular player at the Bimhuis since 1996, its name was changed, probably because the name of the Concertgebouw had a certain presence; a name which evoked respect even outside Holland more then the name Bimhuis could have.

The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, directed by Henk Meutgeert (Porgy en Bess - Terrneuzen (The Netherlands) ( 2nd of April, 2011) (photo courtersy: Hans Koert)
The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw belongs to the best big bands of Europe and its foreign tours and concerts have made its name. Big Bands are monstrous organisations, hard to handle because of their size - the managers of such a band must be financial experts and what to think about planning a tour: all members of the band, all young ambition Dutch jazz musicians, have their own bands and groups and concerts tours ....... The austerity policy by the Dutch government seem to humour the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, but it might all change easily in the near future .......

Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw + Peter Beets (Challenge CR73296)
In fact, jazz music, big band music especially, should be a live experience. If you live in Amsterdam or its surroundings you can join during the winter season monthly concerts by the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw at the Bimhuis. A few month ago the immense Jazz at the Concertgebouw Orchestra performed at the small and cosy
Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen, in the far south western part of The Netherlands - a special experience, as if a mammoth visits the flea circus. These Zeeland concerts will be on a regular base, Henk Meutgeert, the leader of the orchestra, explained: Next year, on the first of April, no April Fool's joke, the orchestra will visit Porgy en Bess again.
Bert Boeren (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
The best way to enjoy that massive sound of a real big band is by joining a concert, but what if you can't be there? You'll have to do with cd's ..... In fact I hadn't found an album that gave me that same sensation as a live performance, like my search for an album that remembered me to the sound of the Stan Kenton band I wrote about in
a previous blog. The album Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw - Festival 1999 part 1 ( I've never heard or seen part 2(!)) didn't give me that sound and so I was very happy to find a free album added to the renewed Jazzism magazine early this year, but ....... no - I missed that sparkling transparent sound, that makes as if you hear each individual instrument ........

Peter Beets ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
I found that real massive swinging sound, I was looking for, at the Blues For The Date album by the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw with star soloist, piano player of the orchestra, Peter Beets. This 2cd album has a dozen tracks, all Peter Beets compositions (except After You Gone) and arranged by Henk Meutgeert, leader of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (except A Hazy Mood,

which was arranged by Peter's brother Marius Beets). Right from the start, the tune It's Happening, the music explodes out of the speakers, as if the band is live in your room. That tune, composed by Peter Beets and also recorded on another great series of Peter Beets albums, Peter Beets Trio - Live at the Concertgebouw, has a trombone solo by Bert Boeren. It is a great experience to listen to both versions, the 2009 big band recording and the 2005 trio album. It's not the only track that doubles with the trio recordings: For Simon (with a solo by Sjoerd Dijkhuizen and Joris Roelofs), D├ęgage, It's Wrong To Be and Trinity. The tune First Song got its name, because it is Peter's first composition (aged seven (!) years old ) and it can also find it at a previous album by Peter Beets's New York Trio
( Criss Cross 1214)(2001).

Sjoerd Dijkhuizen (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
I listened several times to this great Blues For The Date twofer, alone at home at full sound (I wonder if my neighbours enjoyed that experience), with my head phones or played inside my "sound box", while driving to my work. It's hard to make a list of most favourites tracks: Should it be the forementioned opening track It's Happening, the title tune Blues For The Date, which has two version ( an extensive one of more then 10 minutes and a reduced one of three minutes playing time), with funky grooves, a baritone sax solo by Juan Martinez, and a yelling and screaming brass section or did I like Is It Wrong to Be Right? the best, which starts as an almost solemn classical piece, which takes of, after a break by drummer Martijn Vink and pianist Peter Beets as a giant plain to a climax with Peter at the control stick and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw as the roaring jet engines .........
A great tune that, especially in its lengthy version!

Henk Meutgeert (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
Peter Beets shows that he is a pianist that plays at an international high level and Jack Bowers of the Cadence magazine has said about him: Beets is a fully grown monster, and it may not be long before Jazz lovers on both sides of the ocean become aware of that. The Blues For The Date album by Peter Beets and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw was honoured with the prestigious Dutch Edison award and the report of the jury reads: .. Het Amsterdamse orkest dreigt te groot te worden voor Nederland. (= For the Amsterdam orchestra Holland is too small - it evokes world wide respect.) Peter Beets also receives praises: Zijn composities zijn verfrissend, de arrangementen smaakvol en zijn solistische bijdragen goed gedoseerd en van een verpletterende schoonheid en virtuositeit. (= It's compositions are refreshing, his arrangements tastefully and his solos are from an overwhelming beauty and virtuosity).
What can I add to that?

Juan Martinez (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
The album Blues For The Date by Peter Beets and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw can be ordered at
its website or at the Peter Beets site, where you also can find his trio recordings.
Hans Koert

The best place to promote your records is during a live performance, but when you love to live the concert again the recording of the band don't always satisfied. I'd love to have that same experience with that massive sound of The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw and I found it in its latest album entitled Blues For The Date, with special soloist piano player of the band for years, Peter Beets. Blues For The Date XXIst century big band music of a group young Dutch musicians which evoke world wide respect. The Keep Swinging blog loves to point you to this kind of great albums you should have heard! Follow it at Twitter (#keepswinging) or Facebook (Keep Swinging blog newsletter) or ask for its newsletter (

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