Rembrandt Frerichs testimonial
Rembrandt Frerichs, piano, student participant, 2002 IASJ Jazz Meeting, Helsinki, Finland
I remember the jam session at the opening of the meeting. It was an exciting audition. The main idea was to shift was who can play over changes from who could not. In the school where I studied, The Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Bebop was the thing. You had to master the roots of jazz, know all the standards in order to survive any professional situation. In Helsinki it turned out to be true.
My ensemble: Ensemble 1
Nicole Johänntgen on alto sax was the natural leader. In the years after the meeting, we saw each other quit a lot and played many concerts. The same with excellent singer Lisette Spinnler. Artem Chevtov on tenor sax had a great sound. Magnus Wiklund on trombone was a great player as well. Kunimitsu Higashi on guitar was the least experienced of the group but we found a role for him in the ensemble. Peter Joergensen was a calm bass player that supported the band really well. We were very happy to have Bradon Lewis on drums in the band. The teachers were great: the energetic Claudio Fasoli and Guri Agmon who approached jazz very analytical.
The sessions were in Helsinki in a typical jazz joint and at the Kallio-Kuninkala, the mansion of the Sibelius Academy. Not only was playing with the other students were great but at times David Liebman would participate in the session, bringing the session at the next level.
For me it was the first time to be in a professional recording studio. In the ensemble there were different levels of playing. As Liebman pointed out, this happens most of the time during recording sessions. We had to make the best out of it and recorded 2 pieces of which one made it to the cd.
The final concert
A great opportunity to play your own music with kindred spirits. You get to play your own compositions in front of an audience that really knows the music. A nice club in a professional session. I really enjoyed it.
Not only did I many concerts with Nicole and Lisette, two years after the meeting I was invited by organizer Eric Moseholm to join the European Jazz Orchestra. The tour started in Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg and France and then we embarked for Brazil to perform a number of concerts with Hermeto Pascoal. An incredible, joyful and unforgettable experience. Singer Joana Machado from Portugal was in the band as well. I am going to work with her next month. I am still playing with other members of the European Jazz Orchestra 2004.
I cannot think of any negative experiences. What I learned during the first professional recording at the IASJ Jazz Meeting 2002 has become the basis of all further of the 17 recordings that I have made. Also, in my teaching at the Utrecht Conservatory, I often refer to the experiences I had and insights I gained during this first recording.
A ‘live-changing-experience’. Yes, that really also counts for me as well. It might sound as a hollow phrase but it is really what it is.