trombonist, composer & bandleader
Chris Abelen (born September 29, 1959 in Tilburg, the Netherlands) is a jazz trombonist, composer and bandleader. Abelen started his professional career as a member of the Willem Breuker Kollektief. After he left this band in 1988 he started to form his own bands. All compositions for these bands are written by Abelen, from a jazz quartet to a big-band.
Chris Abelen started, as many trombonists, with the trumpet (at the age of 11). At the age of 18 he switched to the trombone. He started to study classical trombone with Charles Toet and Henri Aarts, and after 4 years switched to Amsterdam to study with Willem van Manen, former 1st trombonist of the Willem Breuker Kollektief. When Van Manen left, shortly replaced by Garrett List, Abelen started to perform with the Kollektief in the summer of 1984. After extensive touring with this band he left at the beginning of 1988, to start with his own band, and to perform with others.
The first band was the Chris Abelen sextet, with Tobias Delius, Bo van de Graaf, Wilbert de Joode, Martin van Duynhoven and Jan Kuiper. Their first perfomance was on the Klap op de Vuurpijl,a festival organized by Willem Breuker, between Christmas and new year's eve in Amsterdam. Unfortunately the Dutch Radio Broadcast Corporation lost the recordings fo this concert. After some concerts Abelen decided to continue with a quartet, so Kuiper and Van de Graaf left the band. The Chris Abelen Quartet performed once, for a VPRO radio broadcoast in O42 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. From this recording the title track Plint is on the EP Plint (CAMP 005), with a great tenor solo from Delius. After this one-time concert Abelen decided to replace Martin van Duijnhoven by Charles Huffstadt, and asked Corrie van Binsbergen to join the quintet. They started in the studio with a recording of Dance of the Penguins (1996). A 2nd album was recorded live in 1999, What a romance. Before starting this Chris Abelen Quintet, Abelen was commissioned for a 2nd time to write for the Klap op de Vuurpijl for a 10-piece band, with Ab Baars, Paul Termos, Frans Vermeerssen, Eckard Kolterman, Eric Boeren, Larry Fishkind, Michael Vatcher and Wilbert de Joode. Years later (in 2002) Abelen decided to release these recordings and produced his 3rd album PROOST (dutch for 'cheers'). The 4th album, Space, was recorded with the quintet, a string quartet (Zapp) and Ab Baars on clarinet. In 2016 Abelen released his 6th album, A day at the office, for a septet with a new line-up, with Angelo Verploegen, Floris van der Vlugt, Tini Thomsen, Thijs Huijbens, Ulrich Wentzlaff-Eggebert and Yonga Sun. This album is part of a new project which Abelen is working on with Bastiaan Geleijnse, a Dutch cartoonist (Fokke en Sukke), who is writing the text and lyrics. In 2018 Abelen produced and released Songs on the eve of dismissal, vocals by Lorena del Mar. In 2020 Live at the BIM was released, a compilation of the 2019 Songs concert, also available on video (Youtube).
For 2020 there are several new albums to be released, The joy of an empty trash can (new quintet), The audience is growing (solo trombone) and the finishing of the 2018 album Bye Bye Bloomingdale, for trombone and samples (the title track has been published in 2018).
Beside his own bands Abelen toured and recorded with the Contraband, from his former teacher Willem van Manen, and with other dutch bands, such as I Compani, Paradise Regained Orchestra, Eric van der Westen Octet, Dick de Graaf Septet. Chris Abelen is also working as a professional engraver (Finale/Apple), for publishers as Boosey & Hawkes (London), Donemus, Universal and for orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam), Asko/Schönberg (Amsterdam), Metropole Orchestra (the Netherlands), Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Abelen started with digital engraving in 1992, when Willem Breuker needed some help with his Atari.
Composers among others Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Willem Jeths, Geert van Keulen, Elmer Schönberger, Bernard van Beurden, Willem Breuker.
Dance of the Penguins (CAMP 001, first published at BVHAAST) - (1996)
What a romance (CAMP 002, first published at BVHAAST) - (1999)
PROOST (CAMP 003, first published at BVHAAST) - (2002)
Space (CAMP 004, first published at BVHAAST) - (2004)
Plint (CAMP 005) - (2011)
A day at the office (CAMP 006) - (2016)
bye bye bloomingdale (CAMP 007) - (2017)
Songs on the eve of dismissal (CAMP 008 - 2018)
Live at the BIM (CAMP 009 - 2020)