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Updated: June 8, 2012 18:23 IST

All that jazz

SHRESHTA JAISINGH
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Diverse influences, varied sounds: Eric Vloeimans
The Hindu Diverse influences, varied sounds: Eric Vloeimans

Ever imagined a dreamy evening where a delightful Dutch jazz trumpeter cajoles you with his melodies? Well, look no further because Eric Vloeimans and his quartet ‘Gatecrash’ are playing tonight at the Taj Club House.

Vloeimans is one of Europe’s most talented jazz artists. He is the winner of the highest award for music in the Netherlands -– the Edison award and has also won the VPRO/Boy Edgar award. He talks to us about his music, writing for movies and playing in India.

How did ‘Gatecrash’ begin?

I am influenced by musicians such as The Brecker Brothers, Path Metheny, Weather Report, Miles Davis, Jon Hassel and many others who work with electronic and cross-over music- to me they are like people who cook with different totally herbs and spices. I remember hearing Miles Davis with his new band in the beginning of the 80s at the North Sea Jazz Festival. I was 18 or so and was blown away, and in my heart I wanted to do something like THAT. Gatecrash is my answer to that dream and also the vehicle to where I am going at this moment in my life.

You’ve played in Delhi earlier, tell us about that time.

We played in a few clubs and also at a festival in New Delhi. We also played at the International House, and that felt almost nostalgic, very elegant.

Tell us about your present Asian tour. What are you expecting from Malaysian and Indian audiences?

Last time I was in India, I met a great audience who loved my music. I experienced the people as very direct in their reaction to the music, as they are in some countries in Europe and the USA. I like that, because my music comes from the heart, and is something I want to share directly with people. Also it’s a ‘now’ feeling. I am looking forward to playing at the Taj Club House to, who I believe will be, a very discerning audience.

You are considered to be a crossover jazz artist, tell us about the sound of your quartet.

Gatecrash is about sound, grooves, and electronics, about warmth. Gatecrash laughs, growls, cries, bites, and wags its tail.

You studied classical music, moved over to jazz and now you are venturing into electronic music, tell us about your process. How do you experiment and fuse such diverse sounds?

I’ve learned that everything in music belongs together. The different styles are only little tastes to my ears and that’s what I like to work with. It is something what I felt very early in my musical life.

And how do you experiment?

Just DO it, and learn from your ‘mistakes’.

Tell us about your experience writing music for films. Are you planning on any more such projects?

I wrote, together with a famous film music composer named Fons Merkies, the music for ‘Majesteit’, a film about our queen Beatrix. I wrote the melodies and structures and Fons made the orchestrations, and I played the trumpet solo parts as well for the score. I did the same for ‘Audition’ with composer Martin Fondse. That’s an animated film about trumpeter / conductor Lex van Weeren, a Jewish man who survived Auschwitz because he could play the trumpet. I’m not actively planning more film work, if it comes, it comes.

You have worked with greats like Frank Foster and Mercer Ellington, do you look back at that time for inspiration?

I looked a lot from them, but I don’t look back. Everything you’ve done and seen and experienced is who you are. What you need pops up in your mind from previous experiences. I never go back to the past on purpose to be inspired, it just appears to me when I need it.

Tell us about your future plans for the quartet.

Getting rich and famous, ha ha! No seriously, I just want to play – our next international performance will be at the Istanbul Jazz Festival, and we have quite a lot of concerts in home territory. In addition to

Gatecrash I also perform with pop musicians, classical musicians, as well as with ‘world’ musicians of all kinds. I just recently finished performing with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

What kind of music do you like to listen to personally?

All kinds! I very much enjoy listening to classical music – I’ve done more of that since I’ve been working with the Holland baroque society. I also enjoy what they call ‘World Music’ as well as jazz of course, French chansons I do like. I am an omnivore as far as music is concerned.

Do you listen to other modern jazz artists like Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty?

I run across them at jazz festivals world wide and if I don’t have to play at the same time I do like to listen to my colleagues. It’s always a pleasure to LISTEN.

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