"**** - The interplay of horn sections is excellent. From the first song 'Shortcut' it swings, the guitar by Martijn van Iterson prevents any gagging and in the final piece is nicely fiercely duelled by trumpet player Ruud Breuls and tenor saxophonist Simon Rigter."De Volkskrant, 15-11-2018
Crossroads – a new international perspective on Dutch Jazz. Stretching the boundaries of contemporary big band music. The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw is extending its limits, in more ways than one. The band developed its identity in the late 1990s with the bi-weekly concerts at the Amsterdam Bimhuis. Since then it has literally conquered the world, not only touring all over Europe but also playing in Latin America, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan and China. Musically, too, the band is evolving all the time. The starting point was the classic 1950s idiom, but from the beginning, the orchestra was challenged by guest soloists and composers from a wide range in jazz styles.
With the album Crossroads the Jazz Orchestra takes another step forward. Conducted by Dennis Mackrel and Rob Horsting (who has been arranging for the group since the beginning), the orchestra presents nine compositions by various band members, Martijn van Iterson, Joris Roelofs, Ilja Reijngoud, Simon Rigter and Jorg Kaaij, and Rob Horsting. The arrangements were written by Dennis Mackrel, Rob Horsting, Henk Meutgeert, and three international guest arrangers: Michael Abene and Ed Partyka (U.S.A.), and Vellu Halkosalmi (Finland).
This CD is a breakthrough. Along with their future-oriented American colleagues of the Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue orchestras, with this CD the Jazz Orchestra marks a new century in the development of the jazz big band.
The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw (JOC) – the Netherlands’ best big band with the most swing, according to many – was founded in 1996 by Henk Meutgeert and others as the New Concert Big Band. Since 1999, on the initiative of then-Concertgebouw managing director Martijn Sanders, it has proudly borne the name of Het Koninklijk Concertgebouw ['The Royal Concert Hall'].
The JOC performs worldwide with jazz greats the likes of Benny Golson and Oleta Adams and talented young blood, with José James, Christian Scott and Ruben Hein among the pool. The JOC connects with its audiences, whether in large or smaller settings and makes jazz, in the broadest sense of the word, accessible to audiences of all ages and expectations. Through its shows abroad, the JOC manages to bring Dutch jazz far afield and to the stages of famous concert halls. Approximately 35,000 visitors are drawn to the JOC's concerts each year.
Principal conductor Dennis Mackrel
As of November 2015, the JOC is led by principal conductor Dennis Mackrel (1962). Mackrel started his professional career at the age of ten and at twenty became the Count Basie band’s youngest ever drummer. Mackrel played with orchestras such as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Carla Bley Very Large Band and the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band. He grew from sideman to bandleader in his many partnerships with European orchestras such as the UMO big band from Helsinki (Finland) and the WDR big band from Cologne (Germany). In 2010 he returned to the Count Basie Orchestra as bandleader, where he remained until 2013.
The partnership with the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw dates back to 2004, when he made several appearances as a drummer. Starting in 2014, Mackrel conducted the orchestra on numerous occasions, including in the historical main hall of the Concertgebouw.
As pioneers in the Dutch jazz scene, the JOC has initiated two projects for top talent in (jazz) music: Rhythm Changes and the Arrangers project. Over the course of these projects, young talent got given the opportunity to experience large(r) stages in a professional environment. These projects bring new life and new music to the big band genre and build bridges between the generations on stage as well as reach out to audiences.
Simon Rigter (Leiden, 1973), the son of saxophonist Bob Rigter, studied from 1989 to 1996 at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague with John Ruocco. He continued his studies with Ferdinand Povel at the Hilversum Conservatory, where ge graduated in 1997.
Simon recorded with the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Ochestra of the Concertgebouw, The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, The Reeds, Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, John Marshall, Cees Slinger, Victor Kaihato, Peter Beets, Ruud Breus and many others. He performed with artists such as George Coleman, Elvin Jones, Joe Cohn, Jim Rotondi, Nancy Marano, Alvin Queen, Ferdinand Povel, Ruud Jacobs, Pim Jacobs, Frans Elsen, Rob van Kreefeld, Peter Beets and Marco Kegel and gave concerts in China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, India, Israel, Jamaica and Japan. He is a member of the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw, The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, The Reeds, Saxology and various ensembles.
**** - The interplay of horn sections is excellent. From the first song 'Shortcut' it swings, the guitar by Martijn van Iterson prevents any gagging and in the final piece is nicely fiercely duelled by trumpet player Ruud Breuls and tenor saxophonist Simon Rigter.
De Volkskrant, 15-11-2018