| Mike del Ferro trio (The Netherlands):
Mike del Ferro - piano
Frans van der Hoeven double bass
John Engels - drums
Pianist, composer and arranger Mike del Ferro
(Amsterdam, 23 8 1965) started playing classical Piano at the
age of 9.
At the age of 17 he fell in love with Jazz and he studied Jazz piano
at the Hilversum Conservatory (Holland) with Rob Madna and Henk
Elkerbout, and obtained his Master Degree in 1990.
By 1989 he had won already the first prize (a grand Piano) at a Jazzpiano
competition in Rotterdam, that same year he won the Prize for the best
soloist at the Europe Jazz Contest in Brussels and the first prize at
the Karlovy Vary Jazzcontest in former Czechoslovakia.
In 1993 he met Bob Brookmeyer, who was so impressed with Mike's composing
talents that he arranged a Scholarship which allowed Mike to study composition
and arranging with Brookmeyer for 3 years at the University in Colon (Germany).
His reputation as a soloist, accompanist, composer and arranger has led
to his performing, recording and touring on major venues all over the
world with musicians such as Toots Thielemans, Jack DeJohnette, Oscar
Castro Neves, Scott Hamilton, Richard Galliano, Thijs van Leer (Focus),
Harold Land, Norma Winstone, Benny Bailey, Candy Dulfer, Trijntje Oosterhuis,
Frank Vaganée and many others.
Mike del Ferro is not only a "pure" jazz pianist, he loves many
kinds of different music and plays many different styles.As a sideman
he has been involved in recording dozens of albums, with music varying
from Dixieland to Salsa.
He also arranged animation music for the Danish animator and Oscar winner
Børge Ring. Between 1995 and 1997 he taught Jazzpiano at the Royal Conservatory
in Gent (Belgium).
- Trio with "Opera meets Jazz".
- Frequently performs with the Quartet of Toots Thielemans.
- Guest appearances with Big Bands ect.
- Mike del Ferro is the recently appointed Director of Jazz Programs of
American Voices. As such, he travels the world performing in a wide range
of countries ranging from Latvia and Turkmenistan to Myanmar and Vietnam.
In addition, he coordinates artistic programming for American Voices'
jazz festivals in Baku, Almaty, Taipei and Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City.
Recent CD: Mike del Ferro, Opera Meets Jazz New Belcanto, featuring
Toots Thielemans and Richard Galliano
The second "Belcanto" album "Mike del Ferro, Opera meets
Jazz" has been released on Nicolosi Productions. and features Toots
Thielemans and Richard Galliano.
Being a son of an opera singer, Mike grew up with Opera and Classical
music and came to the unique idea to combine Opera with Jazz, witch has
been leading to performances all over the world.
"My earliest childhood memories are of my father singing, singing
at concerts, at home, in restaurants, with friends, just Belcanto everywhere.
It was inevitable with this background, that I should want to make music
and had my first classical piano lessons at age nine. As I became older
I discovered Jazz and Contemporary Music, and developed a passion for
playing the great Jazz standards.Lots of these standards originate from
Broadway musicals and have always been a source of inspiration for Jazz
musicians. The source of inspiration for this album has been Belcanto.
I thought Italian Aria's and Neapolitan songs could also be given a more
instrumental interpretation, this album is the result of my efforts."
Hein van de Geyn was born in 1956 in Holland.
He played music from a very early age on. He was classically trained by
studying the violin for 15 years. On the side Hein played guitar and played
Pop and the Blues. In his late teens he picked up the bass-guitar and
became interested in Jazz.
Soon Hein was working with some of the Dixieland-bands in the south of
Holland, but also formed his first bebop group. With this group he received
the award as "best soloist" at the contest on the 1977 Laren
Jazz festival. It was after this that he decided to pick up the double
bass, and really pursue his career as a Jazz musician. In the meantime
though he finished his classical music studies at the conservatory of
After gaining much experience in all kinds of styles, Hein went to the
USA in 1980 to tour with Mark Lewis. He decided to move there and did
so after graduating, as the first in the country, from the Jazz-department
of the Rotterdam conservatory, where he studied with Koos Serierse.
After living in Seattle for a while and being much inspired by Gary Peacock,
he moved to San Francisco in 1981. Here he was in a band with John Abercrombie
and Larry Schneider, played with many great musicians, recorded some albums,
and generally learned a lot about the reality of being a Jazz musician.
In 1983 Hein returned to Europe and has since been establishing himself
as one of the most sought after bass players in Europe. He has been playing
bass with Philip Catherine since 1985, and recorded 8 CD's with him. Hein
has played all over Europe and in Africa, Israel, Rumania and Thailand
with Philip. In 1987 he toured and recorded in Japan with Chet Baker.
In 1988 Hein started to play with, and arrange for Dee Dee Bridgewater,
with whom he has been performing at most of the important festivals and
stages in Europe (Montreux, Antibes, Vienne, Berlin, Northsea, London
....) as well as in the USA (Carnegie Hall, Village Vanguard, Montreal,
Newport Festival......) and Japan (Keystone Corner, Blue Note). After
three albums and numerous tours and performances Hein decided to leave
Dee Dee in 1996 to pursue his own career as a leader.
Besides these activities, Hein has worked as a free-lance side-man with
many great players, has taught clinics from time to time, and has been
the bass player on some 80 records. Hein is constantly writing tunes -
many of them are recorded and arranges for bigger ensembles from time
to time. He has also played a number of solo-bass performances.
In July 1990 Hein made the first album under his own name, a duo with
Lee Konitz. Several tours followed. In 1994 he created his group BASELINE
(see groups) with John Abercrombie and Joe LaBarbara. This group recorded
several albums and toured all over Europe.
1994 was also the year in which Hein co-founded with Anne de Jong and
Joost Leijen the Jazz label CHALLENGE RECORDS, for which he produced,
and is still producing, a growing number of successful recordings. Two
of them in fact received an Edison (Denise Jannah in1994, Eric Vloeimans
in 1999) for best recording of the year.
In 1996 Hein became the head of the bass section in the Jazz department
of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In this year he also was awarded
the prestigious Prins Bernhard Foundation Music Prize. He received this
prize for his importance in the development of European Jazz as well as
for his stimulating role as mentor and producer of many of the young musicians
In 1998 Hein received the Bird Award at the Northsea Jazz Festival. In
this year he was also elected as "Best European Acoustic Bass Player"
by a referendum of the Belgian radios RTBF and VRT.
During a sabbatical period spent in South Africa in 2001/2002 Hein wrote
his "Comprehensive Bass Method". This extensive method on bass
playing will be available in 2004.
Without any doubt John Engels, born in Groningen,
the The Netherlands, on May 13, 1935, has now reached the prime of his
career and matured into one of the world's leading and most widely demanded
jazz drummers of today.
His first work of importance was with pianist Mary Lou Williams in 1953.
After that he joined the "Diamond Five", led by Dutch pianist
Cees Slinger, a legendary jazz group in Holland. He was a member of this
quintet for more than ten years, accompanying such great artists as Stan
Getz, Clifford Jordan, Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse, Nat Adderley and many
It is virtually impossible to name all the outstanding musicians John
Engels worked with the years since he began his career, the following
names are a random selection:
Saxophone: Ben Webster (with whom John recorded three albums),
Zoot Sims, Bud Shank, Jimmy Heath, Bob Cooper, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Stitt,
Ferdinand Povel, Flip Phillips, Piet Noordijk, and Warne Marsh.
Trumpet: Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Thad Jones, Woody Shaw,
Tom Harrell and Wynton Marsalis.
Trombone: Jimmy Knepper, Slide Hampton, and Jiggs Whigham.
Piano: Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Rob Madna, and Monty Alexander.
Singers: a.o. Betty Carter, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Dakota
Staton, Helen Merrill, Ann Burton and Jon Hendricks.
In the last twenty years a number of important events have added substantially
to the fame John Engels had already accumulated around the world, some
of which are listed below:
In 1983, he received a Dutch Government Grant to visit the USA, where,
for three months, he performed and studied with his close friend Mel Lewis.
In 1985, he was the very first musicians to receive the "Bird Jazz
Award" at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, where he has
performed every year since its inception in 1976. The following motivations
was provided by the jury:
"John is a sincere, often somewhat underestimated jazz musician.
He fits in many styles and settings. He plays with an enormous enthousiasm
and is a perfect accompanist for both Dutch and American jazz musicians.
In granting this important jazz award, the jury wishes to express the
appreciation John Engels rightly deserves as a jazz drummer".
John Engels has recorded more than sixty cd's and eighty records. Six
of the albums received an Edison Award (the Dutch equivalent of the American
Grammy Award). In 1986 and 1987, he made two extensive tours, including
Japan, with the world-famous trumpet player Chet Baker, with whom he recorded
four albums. In the same year he received the 'Benelux Award' for the
best drummer from the "Slagwerk Courant", a renowned Dutch-language
magazine specialized in this field; subsequently, he won this award each
year up to 1993, and again in 2000 and 2001.
In 1988, John Engels received the most distinguished Dutch Jazz award
of all, the 'Boy Edgar Prize', for his outstanding artistic achievements.
Later, in 1992, the Dutch government provided him, for the second time,
with a grant to visit the USA to continue his studies, and in 1993, the
The Netherlands Jazz Foundations (Dutch acronym: SJIN) organized a tour,
consisting of twenty-three concerts plus radio and television broadcasts,
for a special combination of famous international musicians led by John
Engels, to publicly honor his forty years as a professional jazz musician.
A compact disk commemorating these years, consisting of recordings of
the tour with this ensemble under his leadership, was released in 1999.
In 1997, hew was the first non-American musician to receive the distinguished
"Hall of Fame Award" from the Seventh Annual International Ache
BIOS Jazz Festival held in Jamaica.
In 2001, John Angeles was knighted in the Order of the The Netherlands
Lion (Ridder in de Arid van de Nederlandse Leeuw) and will perform for
the 25th consecutive year at the celebrated Northsea Jazz Festival.
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė