Paradox Jazz Orchestra: Remembering the Skymasters

The Skymasters Big Band was a Dutch radio orchestra that first hit the airwaves in January 1946 after being founded the year before by Willy Schobben, Bep Rowold and Pi Scheffer. The popularity of the group was based on their catchy repertoire and the frequency of their broadcasts (two or three times a week) thanks to AVRO, the Dutch broadcaster.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Skymasters were considered the best big band in Europe, and the group’s last radio concert was on January 21, 1997. Saxophonist and conductor Jasper Staps plays in the Tiny Little Big Band since 2010 and is a staunch of the genre.

Staps has spent time diligently researching the music of the Skymasters and other Dutch big band composers and arrangers, including Rob Madna and Jerry Van Rooyen. In 2019, Staps and trumpeter Teus Nobel founded a new jazz orchestra which debuted in early 2020 at the Paradox Jazz Club in Tilburg and thus was born the Paradox Jazz Orchestra.

While the group’s influences are, unsurprisingly, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich and Stan Kenton, it also aims to give big band music a contemporary platform thereby presenting the music in a respectful manner to current and new generations. of public.. To that end, the group members come from a cohort of young players such as Koen Smits, Niek de Bruin and Jesse Schilderink as well as more established names such as Rembrandt Frerichs and Jos Machtel.

There is a mix of standards and four numbers by Dutch pianist, composer and conductor Rob Pronk who died in 2012. The album’s emphasis is unmistakably swing, but there are also other explorations, like the majestic arrangement of Basin Street Blues. Joe Gallardo’s Latin beat of Sambita recalls that of Kenny Clarke Francy Boland’s Big Band at its peak. Pronk’s Basie-esque’s Fred My Pal has a familiar sound and is all the more appealing for it. Hermeto Pascoal’s Nem Um Talvez, made famous by Miles Davis Living the evil (Columbia, 1971), stars veteran Ack Van Rooyen whose elegant bugle solo proves unequivocally that you can still sound great in your 90s.

(1) So there you are! ; the blues of the rue du bassin; Difficult customer; (2) Nem Um Talvez; (1) Sambita; No more; Fred my boyfriend; The moment of truth; October ballad; Birch and the Blues (58.29)
(1) Jasper Staps (continued); Daniel Daemen (ace, cl); Wietse Mays (like, f); Guido Nijs (ts, f); Jesse Schilderink (ts, cl); Nils Van Haften (bar, bcl); Martijn De Laat, Robin Rombouts, Teus Nobel, Jo Hermans, Dave Vreuls (t, flh); Martijn Sohier, Ron Oligschlager, Bart Bergmans (to be confirmed); Martin Van Den Berg (btb); Rembrandt Frerichs (p). (2) add Ack Van Rooyen (flh). Tim Langedijk (elg); Jos Machtel (b); Niek De Bruijn (d). Tilburg, The Netherlands, March 1-2, 2021.
PJO files PJOCD01

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Henry R. Wright

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