“I have been renting a studio in the Volkshotel Broedplaats for many years, where I work on my music. I noticed that there was a grand piano in Werkplaats that never seemed to be used for anything, which is such a shame. It got me thinking and an idea arose for recording an Amsterdam Jazz Trio album in collaboration with saxophonist Boris van der Lek.
I was also enthusiastic about setting up an accessible jazz evening. That was something that was still missing in Amsterdam. An opportunity to listen to jazz in a café setting, where the musicians certainly do not only provide background music, but where the atmosphere is not as official as an evening in, for example, Bimhuis. It should not be a problem if the audience occasionally exchanges a few words with their company. I envisioned a place where people can laugh with a glass of wine in hand, but where people also really come for the jazz.
At some point I presented this plan to one of the programmers, who received it positively. Not much later, during the first editions of what later became known as Jazz Thursdays, we recorded six hours of unamplified material analogue.
The first steps towards our own vinyl record had been taken, and at the same time we continued with the performances. We often came up with a rough plan in advance, for example something to kick off the evening, but left more than enough room to take a different path.
The awareness of the evenings grew, which had a nice effect on the audience. This increasingly consisted of a mixture of hotel guests, jazz lovers and makers from Broedplaats. For example, recently a group of women in their early twenties were listening attentively to us, who had apparently also heard of Jazz Thursdays somewhere. We also became a better known name within our own scene, which only extended the list of musicians who wanted to play with us. For example, we had Benjamin Herman, Frits Landesbergen and Bert van den Brink as a guest, who independently sell out large halls. Many of these artists have admitted that it is a nice opportunity for them too, precisely because of the accessibility of the concept.
Recently the big moment finally arrived; the record was finished which felt like an actual release to all of us. The party we had to celebrate once again had just the right atmosphere: we were presented with the first copy by Hans Dulfer and everyone was cheering. Actually, maybe we should have recorded that evening, but then we might be looking too far into the future. For the time being, we can at least move forward with the Jazz Thursdays; We still have plenty of nice people who are eager to be invited. For example, next time we will have crooner Pepijn de Wit as our guest. I’m really looking forward to that too.”
The Jazz Thursdays take place every first Thursday of the month in Werkplaats and are free of charge.
Curious about the end result? The album “Amsterdam Jazz Trio + Boris van der Lek: Live from het Volkshotelgebouw” can be listened to on Spotify:
Pictures by Tom van Huisstede