reviews / interviews    

Jazz & Improvised Music - Amsterdam

"...The musicians of the O.BA.O group have not only succeeded in combining all musical developments within the improvised music genre over the past twenty years in a very professionel manner and in good taste; but also (and that is perhaps even more important) they have been able to expel the frequently damaging system of leadership.... ....They succeeded in doing so by way of their individual and personal contribution and by respecting eachother and their guest musicians (equal input). The rhythmic and harmonic changes in O.BA.O are an event of combined efforts and not imposed by a leader. This may be the reason why guestmusicians - who may have very different musical conceptions - get along so well with the three of O.BA.O The professionality of double bass player Dhont, the power of drummer Houtman and the ideas of piano player De Jonge, combined with the above mentioned tolerance and respect for "the other's conceptions", result in the fact that one does not get the feeling, not for one moment, to be listening to a "trio - with - a soloist". And from my point of view (hearing) that is the greatest compliment possible."

Hans Dulfer

Michiel Czn. Dhont

Trio O.BA.O.

Herbert de Jonge

Hans Houtman
 Listen Demo's
During concerts in the NL and abroad O.BA.A. has been featuring and challanging many guests, among which: Sean Bergin, Kees Smit, Maarten van Noorden, Hans Dulfer, Willem van Manen, Willem Breuker, Ab Baars, Theo Loevendie, Corrie van Binsbergen en Tobias Delius, Luc Houtkamp. Guests from abroad: Elton Dean (Soft Machine), Keith Tippett, Nils Landgren, Keshavan Maslak en Joe Giardullo and Joe McPhee.  
info O.BA.O. concerts, demo en booking:
Roots muziekprodukties Tel/fax: +31 20 612 6691/ +31 523 638 678

Email: michiel -AT-
1970 - now Performances O.BA.O
jazz and improvised music performances in concert
1981 /1983 /1985 North-Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague, the Netherlands,
1981 France, U.S.A., featuring dutch aswell as foreign musicians (see music C.V.) Various performances in poetry and improvised music / dance  
1981 edited OAAO-(trio/quintet) album L.P.-Record (Atacca label), the Netherlands  
1983 studiorecording O.BA.O and Elton Dean, Keith Tippett and Nils Landgren /by Aad Bos, VARA Broadcasting Comp. Hilversum Holland  
1985 Movie of O.BA.O. concert by VPRO.Television Broadcasting Company Nijmegen, the Netherlands  
1996 CD-edition 'O.BA.O - meets Ab Baars', Amsterdam, the Netherlands  
1999 BIMHUIS, O.BA.O - Joe Giardullo, Joe McPhee and Jerome Bourdellon, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Recording and video  
2003 DvD - 2003: 'O.BA.O 25 years of Jazz&improvised music'
2004 BIMHUIS, O.BA.O - Luc Houtkamp + Elton Dean, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Recording and video

Foto BIMHUIS Amsterdam - O.BA.O in concert 24-11-99
meeting Joe Giardullo & Joe McPhee from New York
Joe Giardullo (fluiten, basklarinet en sopraansax)
In 1980 wordt zijn grammofoonplaat "Gravity" - music for creative chamber ensemble in Downbeat-Jazzmagazine gewaardeerd met 4* sterren. "The most intensely democratic music" volgens muziekrecensent Francis Davis.
Giardullo bestudeert jarenlang indianenmuziek in Noord-Amerika. Veel optredens volgen met trompettist Butch Morris, saxofonist Anthony Braxton, bassist Wilbur Little, de drummers Stu Martin en Makato Sato en saxofonist Joe McPhee. Concerten in de V.S., Holland, België, Luxemburg, Frankrijk en Polen.
Joe McPhee (tenorsax en trompet)
"Joe McPhee has been a leading new improviser for 30 years. A multi-instrumentalist who performed on soprano sax, tenor sax, and cornet. McPhee employed harmonics and other extended techniques with absolute clarity, and wedded an astonishing control of circular breathing with the shaping instincts that turn experiment into art. He was also unafraid to play melody..…" (Bob Blumenthal) - Boston Globe november '99) Hij is een graag geziene gast in de groepen van Jimmy Giuffre, Peter Brötzmann en Evan Parker. Recente activiteiten vinden plaats in de New Yorkse Knittingfactory. Voor uitgebreide informatie over Joe McPhee zie
  Review by Ken Waxman
  / cv musicians (dutch)


Interview : Free Jazz Trio O.BA.O celebrates its twenty-fifth’s anniversary with a tour.

Drums player Hans Houtman, double bass player Michiel Czn Dhont and pianist Herbert de Jonge share a free conception about traditional jazz: “When a blues passes by, fine”.
By our correspondent Frank van Herk, Amsterdam


Much dedication is required in order to play free jazz for twenty five years. Something that the Dutch trio O.BA.O has in abundance; reason to celebrate this with a tour together with tenor-saxophonist Luc Houtkamp and the British saxelloplayer Elton Dean.
Drummer Hans Houtman (1939) and double bass player Michiel Czn Dhont (1940), with roots in the traditional jazz but progressing more and more towards free conceptions, came into contact with pianist Herbert de Jonge (1952) at the end of the seventies. They created a quartet with saxophonist Kees Smit, they searched for a name and each of them took a letter in mind. Thus OAAO was born; with rise and fall the trio O.BA.O saw its daylight.

Performances followed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, together with Hans Dulfer, Ab Baars and other prominent musicians. However, in the meantime they felt somewhat pushed aside by the “smooth conservatory jazz boys who could play Coltrane back to front”. Whereas their free jazz is no anachronism and doesn’t live up to the prejudices. On the contrary, she sounds harmonic, often melodic and lyrical and self-evident.

“My roots are in the classical music” explains de Jonge. “ I did play the blues, but never solo’s in songs with cord schemes. I wasn’t very good at it and we weren’t able to express ourselves very well in that. That’s the reason why we played more and more open right from the beginning. Start from the silence”.

The trio is not as dogmatic as some free improvising fanatics. “When a blues passes by, fine”. They mix tastes, contrasts. When they are playing a-tonal for too long, de Jonge may throw in something concrete, an harmonic solution. Pianist de Jonge compares their performances with a magic ritual. “It has to do with surrender, open-mindedly waiting for a miracle”.

Drums player Houtman recalls that in the beginning they played long stretched pieces, often with a groove, but rather abstract. “That is how it was in those days. Energy and trance. Sets of a hundred and twenty minutes. But that’s also a way of destroying it”. The need was felt for more structure. “Once in a while tranquility is required in order to get back together again”, says de Jonge.

“When you play free and ignore the others, it will never amount to anything”, says pianist de Jonge who is mostly responsible for the classic influences. Houtman, on the contrary, has his “roots” coming from the street. “I built my first drum set myself, with a centrifuge packing and meccano”.

Due to the fact that the parts fit so well – the swinging pulse, the spontaneous variation of rhythm and sound center – a conversation is originated, says de Jonge. “One speaks and listens, also to oneself. The music is the essence to which one has to contribute and this is equally possible by keeping silent”.

In spite of the abstract aspect, the emotional intensity rarely collapses. Sometimes it clashes, but “from that anger, a volley of notes may result”, explains de Jonge. “Usually we do go into the same direction spontaneously. Something may occur that one cannot learn by heart and if we would analyze that and try to repeat, it would be very difficult”.



info concerts, demo en booking:
Roots muziekprodukties Tel/fax: +31 20 612 6691/ +31 523 638 678

Email: michiel -AT-