to The Dan Band. Piano being his first instrument, Rico is also an accomplished guitarist and producer, releasing his first solo record entitled The Pursuit Of Comfort in 2010. A prolific composer, his music has found its way to records and TV all over the world.
My studies in Electrical Engineering at the TU Delft threatened to suck all the life out of me. I started playing early on, and my father is a musician, but it didn't seem a real option as far as employment goes. Of course, moving to the States to see how it's really done was the best decision of my life.
Your sound and approach to music:
I try to convey as much feeling as possible, to make the music feel as good as possible. It's important to tell a story, not just play a bunch of notes in a row. I love so many different styles, but there's gotta be a groove. I always try to find meaning in everything I play, even when it might not be my favorite tune to play.
Your teaching approach:
Teaching is an interesting subject. Most music teachers don't get it in my seldom to be humble opinion. All they show students is scales and techniques, which are quite dangerous actually. I always draw an analogy with learning to speak: of course when you're starting out, you have to learn the basic building blocks of the language, the sounds of the letters for instance. But after you learn them, you never practice them in an isolated way anymore. Music is the same for me: once you have some skill on your instrument, it's important to start working on actual music, actual songsnot scales. You can analyze, but there always has to be the context of meaningful music.
Your dream band:
There are so many fantastic artists I would love to play with; John Scofield
, to a sold-out house, and it was just amazing. For weeks after I would run into people I knew who I didn't even know where actually there. The place is run so well, the setting is gorgeous, the sounds of the crowd coming at me was unbelievable.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
That has to be Eyewitness, which I did with Jeff Robinson. We did it in Dave Karasony's garage, produced by the amazing Rodney Lee. I love the songs; meaningful lyrics, no metronomesjust real grooves, real music.
It's not good, but that's the musicians' fault, I'm afraid. It seems a lot of feeling is missing from jazz these days, and audiences have punished us for it.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
I think it's important to bring a little fun and playfulness back to the genre. Jazz is about experimentation and freedom and as people get spoon fed more and more perfect and overproduced music, I have a feeling they will get more interested in the unpredictability of jazz.
What is in the near future?
Currently I'm busy promoting my new album. It really is a labor of love and I would love nothing more than to take this show on the road. I've connected with so many great musicians here and I'm ready.