Seen on July 2, 2016 @ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
Something powerful happens when Dutch jazz giants grace the Standard Bank Jazz Festival with their presence. This year it is master saxophonist Toon Roos that brings his original Quartet along. It is a joyful reunion of friends as Hein van de Geyn (bass) left the Lowlands and is living now in Scarborough, Cape Town. Other friends that flew in from Amsterdam are Karel Boehlee (piano) and Joost van Schaik (drums).
Boehlee opens with his signature style, softly and gentle, intently listening with eyes closed as we witnessed him before playing with Hein van de Geyn to celebrate Tooth’s 90th birthday with the Toots Thielemans, very sensitive with a versatile bass laying an intimate and solid foundation. For the next hour we are treated with ballads and funky groovy jazz from the American Songbook.
“I fall in love too easily” have piano and sax sunken in lyrical beauty, regret and desire. Drops of tears run on the bass. Roos’ warm and vibrant sound takes you deep into the song.
Roos leads his Quartet as a giant gentleman, opening up many opportunities for the others to show their musicianship and verve. Along the way they have fun playing a 12 bar blues and enjoying each other’s creations. Van Schaik embellished the blues with a marvellous solo.
Body and soul, an old time personal favourite of Toon Roos makes for a gorgeous ballad and when he shouts “Go tell your mama this” we are further Falling in Love with Love.
The set closes with Fading Star, an atmospheric ballad that Roos wrote for his late mother, shining roles for the friends that so outspokenly celebrate their capacity to paint different moods, with a last word for Toon on the tenor. Another groovy and funky original composition leaves us delighted with the memory of some masters at work, that celebrate friendship and jazz. Yeah!!!
Photography: CuePix/ Jeffrey Stretton-Bell – National Arts Festival 2016