Masterclass with Reinier Baas & Ben Van Gelder
Guitarist Reinier Baas and saxophonist Ben van Gelder have shared the stage over 200 times in the past years, but continue to challenge each other as performers and composers. They have developed a unique vocabulary that is rooted in the American jazz tradition but is unmistakably European at the same time. Baas’ spirited approach to the guitar is contagious, drawing the listener in with unexpected rhythmical and dynamic turns. Critics and peers alike praise him for his diversity in texture and idiosyncratic harmonic inventions. Van Gelder is regarded internationally as an authority on the alto saxophone. He displays a remarkable amount of tranquillity and overview and alternates diaphanous lyricism with explosive virtuosity.
SMASH HITS, a registration of the duo’s collaboration with the multiple Grammy Award-winning Metropole Orkest, was released on Basta Music in October 2018. A duo record is due for release in June 2019. Baas and van Gelder collaborate with the legendary drummer Han Bennink on a regular basis.
This is a unique opportunity to gain insight and inspiration from two artists whose diverse skills and experiences will present new and exciting possibilities for the burgeoning careers of current students and recent graduates.
Reinier Baas (1985) is a guitarist and composer based in Amsterdam. He has been the leader of The More Socially Relevant Jazz Music Ensemble since 2010. The ensemble toured in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe and their second album earned a prestigious Edison Award. His latest record, Reinier Baas vs. Princess Discombobulatrix, a partly improvised mostly instrumental opera, features 14 musicians from classical and jazz backgrounds as well as visuals by renowned illustrator Typex. The record garnered a second Edison award. An in-demand composer, Baas received composition assignments from November Music Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. He was Artist In Residence at the Südtirol Jazzfestival. Most recently, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam offered him a carte blanche, which resulted in the Gigantic Chamber Music Mini Festival – a program premiering his first String Quartet. Baas is on faculty at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and Codarts Conservatory of Rotterdam.
A native of the Netherlands, Ben van Gelder, grew up in a family with a penchant for music. He moved to New York when he was 17 and spent almost a decade collaborating and studying with some of the most progressive artists in the world. His teachers included Guillermo Klein, Jason Moran and Lee Konitz. He formed a quintet of forward-thinking peers and recorded three critically acclaimed albums under his name. The ensemble toured extensively in Europe, Japan and the U.S. In NYC, Van Gelder established strong ties with the Jazz Gallery, a venue that fosters artistic excellence and is known as a springboard for talent. He received a much sought after a commission from the institution, which resulted in his latest outing, Among Verticals. The record, inspired by a painting of abstractionist Frantisek Kupka, received 5-star reviews in press publications worldwide. Van Gelder won multiple awards such as the Deloitte Jazz Award and the Gold Award granted by the National Endowment for Advancement in the Arts. Van Gelder is currently based in Amsterdam where he is on faculty at the Conservatory.