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Jaap van de Klomp: The Dutch Master of Jazz

Nick Catalano By

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Jaap van de Klomp
Hardcover; 223 pages
ISBN: 9789022993538
A.W. Bruna Publishing

Perhaps the greatest irony in jazz music is that it so often more appreciated by listeners outside of America—its country of origin. Countless times in this column and other writings, I have analyzed this phenomenon by referencing performances, musicians, CD sales, and foreign publications but have never satisfactorily accounted for the response that non-Americans have for the music while masses in the U.S. are largely apathetic.

Moreover, very often, aliens contribute important additions to the ongoing jazz chronicle that continually astound and amaze. Such a contribution arrives this month—a magnificent tome JazzLives by Jaap van de Klomp.

Jaap, who hails from Utrecht in The Netherlands, is the classic example of the non-American who grasps the aesthetic essence of jazz and is compelled to spend a large part of his life campaigning for the music. Born in 1940, Jaap was involved in a Utrecht jazz club in the 50's and worked with Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Donald Byrd, Kenny Drew, Kenny Clarke and others during their European stints in the 60's. He helped organize the 1966 appearance of Misha Mengleberg (Holland's best known jazz artist) at the Newport Jazz Festival. He works as a photographer and, in 1999, published One Night Stand—a book with photos from the jazz concerts given at the legendary Concertgebouw hall in Amsterdam.

JazzLives reveals Jaap's reverence for musicians in a unique way. Years ago, with the help of grants from the Dutch government and other institutions, Jaap started journeying to America searching for and photographing the burial sites and monuments of as many jazz artists as he could find. His knowledge of the final whereabouts of some of the most important figures in the music quickly became definitive and JazzLives is the result of his glorious odyssey. In addition to the spectacular photos of the tombstones and sites, Jaap has included other photos accompanied by Scott Yanow essays. The book is educative (how many know that Scott Joplin is buried in St. Michael's cemetery in Queens, New York or that Joe "King" Oliver is buried in the Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx) a unique tribute to the jazz greats cited and a great gift idea for anyone who loves the music.


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