29th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 13-16 October, 2016
Mike del Ferro trio Vilnius Jazz'2004
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).

Current projects
- 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 Tilburg.

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 Holland.

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 others.

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


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