Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rein De Graaff's 70th Birthday Jazzparty

 Rein De Graaff - 70 years young and still going strong
Dutch bebop piano player celebrates 70th birthday with a serie of concerts featuring Houston Person

Congratulations Rein - Keep (it) Swinging

Hans Koert

Rein De Graaff's 70th Birthday Party (English) - Rein de Graaff viert zijn 70ste verjaardag (Nederlands)

Rein de Graaffjazz piano player, composer and producer celebrates his 70th birthday this week.  Born in Groningen, city in the north of The Netherlands, the 24th  October, 1942, raised in Veendam, Rein learned about jazz, thanks to the bunch of 78rpm records his grandfather bought when the war was over, to play on his new gramophone.  One of those records was Skyliner by Charlie Barnet, recorded in 1944.  The tune Skyliner would inspire Rein to play his first music on a plastic saxophone-toy-kazoo and later at a real Hohner harmonica, his grandmother bought for him. Early 1950s the piano was introduced in the house and Rein started to improvise, inspired by the music of Winifred Atwell. One of the first records Rein bought was the After School Blues played by the young  wonder boy of those days Sugar Chile Robinson.

As a teenager Rein joined the school band of the Winkler Prins Lyceum, which played a kind of dixieland music, popular in those days and his first public concert  must have been at the Parkhotel in Hoogezand where the band joined a school party.  Pete Felleman, host of the popular Dutch radio jazz program Swing and Sweet from 52nd Street introduced him to legends like Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and … Charlie Parker.  In 1958 he bought his first bebop record, featuring Charlie Parker, with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars Quintet ….. a 45rpm Pathé EP record.

 Rein De Graaff ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Graduated from high school ( the HBS in Holland), he joined the German band Mister Adams Jazzopators, a band that played traditional jazz but also mainstream and, although he never became a full-professional jazz musician, this gig was the start of a long musical career which brought him to the US to play with great names like Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, Clark Terry, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan and dozens of other bebop musicians, some now almost forgotten.

 Rein De Graaff and Dick Vennik (photo courtesy: Koos Serierse) (source: Timeless lp Rein De Graaff-Dick Vennik Quartet - Modal Soul)( 1977)

In 1964 he started with saxophonist Dick Vennik the Rein de Graaff-Dick Vennik Quartet and early 1970s his own trio was born, featuring Eric Ineke, his time keeper for more then 40 years on drums and Henk Haverhoek and later Koos Serierse and Marius Beets on double bass. 

 Frank Morgan, one of those (almost) forgotten jazzmusicians - a few weeks before he passed away guest at one of Rein's tours ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

With his trio Rein organized short tours, labeled as Stoomcursus Bebop (= Crash Course Bebop) or that kind of names, at Dutch and Belgian jazz jazz venues with legendary bebop musicians like Johnny Griffin, Charles McPherson, Curtis Fuller, Gary Foster, Houston Person, Pete Christlieb, Herb Geller and dozens and dozens other, almost forgotten jazz legends.  I still remember the great concert with Frank Morgan, who passed away a few weeks after the trip.

 Sam Most (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Last year Rein and his men ( Eric Ineke on drums and Marius Beets on double bass) invited the legendary flute player Sam Most, now in his eighties, for a series of concerts. Recently Rein’s latest album was released by Timeless Records, entitled The Rein de Graaff Trio meets Sam Most – Indian Summer.

  The Rein de Graaff Trio meets Sam Most - Indian Summer ( Timeless CDSJP485) ( orig. cover in colour)

The album, which was recorded in Zeist, November 2011, contains ten tracks with known and less known Bebop standards like Ghost of a Chance, Alone Together, What a Difference a Day Made, Rollins’ Oleo and Charlie Parker’s less heard composition Buzzy, which he recorded in May 1947 at a Savoy recording session.

 Sam Most ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Sam Most became famous in the 1950s with his composition Undercurrent Blues, recorded with his sextet ( featuring Dick Hyman at the piano and Chuck Wayne at the guitar), New York City - January 1953, which would become a landmark in bebop flute playing .... When I started playing jazz on flute, Herbie Mann is quoted in the liner notes of the Indian Summer album, there was only one record out: Sam Most's Undercurrent Blues. The Sam Most photo's are from the DJS ( = Dordtse Jazz Societeit) concert, november 2011 in Dordrecht.  

Houston Person (as one of the Boss Tenors - 1998) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Due to Rein’s 70th birthday a series of concerts have been scheduled with Boss Tenor Houston Person. Rein invited Houston Person for the very first time in a series of concerts, dedicated to the music of Billie Holiday entitled A Song for Lady Day, featuring vocalist Etta Jones (1992-1993) and in February 1998 Person returned in a serie of concerts entitled Boss Tenors with David Fathead Newman.

Rein De Graaff ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Rein the Graaff 70th Birthday Party will be celebrated with his fans during a ten day tour along Dutch venues with his trio accompanied by Dutch guest musicians (only at the Groningen and Amsterdam concerts) and the US legendary tenor player Houston Person.
Rein de Graaff Trio + Houston Person
November 2012
  • 1st of November: Oosterpoort – Groningen (featuring guest players like Benjamin Herman – Martijn van Iterson - trumpet player Ellister and vocalist Silvia Droste)
  • Friday 2nd = Heerde – jazz festival
  • Saturday 3rd: Dordtse Jazz Societeit (DJS) – Dordrecht
  • Sunday 4th: Leiden – De Burcht 
  • Tuesday 6th: The Hague – Koornhuis (masterclass)
  •   Wednesday 7th: Deventer: Bouwkunde
  • Thursday 8th: Amsterdam: Bimhuis (featuring guestlayers like Benjamin Herman – Martijn van Iterson - trumpet player Ellister and vocalist Silvia Droste)
  • Saturday 10th: Edam – Strandbad restaurant.
Rein’s biography is entitled Belevenissen in Bebop – Rein de Graaff – Jazzpianist by Coen de Jonge. (1996)

The album The Rein De Graaff Trio meets Sam Most can be ordered at Timeless

If you want to congratulate Rein personally, send your message, which will be forwarded, to keepswinging@live.nl 
Hans Koert
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Rein De Graaff, celebrated Dutch jazz bebop piano player, accompanied with his trio dozens of US legendary forgotten or (almost) forgotten jazz musicians during his more then 50 years career.  This week he celebrates his 70th birthday with a series of concerts with the legendary Boss Tenor Houston Person.  Rein De Graaff - 70 years young and still going strong .... Keep (it) Swinging Rein.
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