Low countries – high peaks

In late February and early March Alan Skidmore undertook a tour of the Netherlands, plus an excursion into Belgium, with his old pianist friend and colleague Rein de Graaff known in his homeland as Dr Bop.

Billed as The Saxophone Summit, the tour started in Rein’s home town of Groningen in the north of Holland before moving on to Tilburg, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Heist op den Berg south of Antwerp in Belgium. Skid took his trusty tenor throughout and was joined by Dutch jazz stars Benjamin Herman (who’s actually half British) on alto saxophone and Tineke Postma on alto and soprano. They were superbly driven along by Rein at the piano, Marius Beets on double bass and Eric Ineke on drums. This is the schedule:

28 February Brouwerij Martinus, Groningen
2 March Paradox, Tilburg
3 March Bimhuis Amsterdam
4 March Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht
5 March Hnita Jazz Club, Heist op den Berg, Belgium

I was fortunate to be able to join the band for the sound check and concert in Amsterdam on Saturday and on Sunday in Utrecht. The set list varied from gig to gig but all gave each of the saxophonists a chance to shine individually as well as contributing to the ensembles when all three horns blew their lungs out in a series of scintillating solos and brilliant arrangements. Piano, bass and drums were also provided with many opportunities to shine. The tunes included Rogers and Hart’s Easy to Remember; Miles Davis’ All Blues; the Sigmund Romberg classic Softly as in a Morning Sunshine; the John Coltrane ballad Say It; Thelonius Monk’s I Mean You and Nutty and ended with Coltrane’s Impressions which drew peak performances from all three in the front line. Here are a few photographs to give a flavour of the tour.



Bimhuis three horns 2

Saxophone summit riding high Benjamin Herman, Tineke Postma and Alan Skidmore

Then on Sunday it was off to Utrecht and another impressive concert hall the Tivoli Vredenburg which has a number of different rooms for each type of music. Jazz was in Cloud Nine the blue semicircle at the top.

Tivoli Marius, Skid and Eric

Skid with Marius Beets and Eric Ineke

Words and photographs © 2018 Mike Raggett www.verbalists.uk



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