Iman Spaargaren

Saxophonist, clarinettist, composer, teacher

About Me

Iman is a multi-reed player, arranger and composer.

Iman has a distinctive way of playing and a very personal tone on his horn. He likes to search for different ways of expressing himself in different kinds of music. His main musical goal is to have a great deal of freedom in melody, harmony and rhythm and presenting that in a comprehensible context for the listener.

“Iman Spaargaren sorgt mit seiner Bassklarinette für fantastisch-groteske Sounds und mit seinem Tenor für heisse Exkursionen” (Hans-Jürgen Schaal, High Fidelity)

“Iman Spaargaren spielt sein Tenor Saxofon – nach einer herrlich-entspannten Piano- /Holzblasinstrument-Phase – in der freien Improvisation des Free Jazz. Hochklassig!” (Joachim 'Joe' Brookes, Rocktimes)

“Na de pauze was het kwartet compleet, verrijkt met het uiterst fantasierijke spel van saxofonist Iman Spaargaren” (Koen Edeling,

“Iman Spaargaren: a busy man, not deprived of outstanding musical qualities, as an instrumentalist as well as a composer” (Jacques Los, Draaiomjeoren)

“Spaargaren excels in strong melodies and lyricism” (Jan Jasper Tamboer, Jazzenzo)

“Iman is an important player in the Dutch jazzscene” (Jazzflits)

“Iman Spaargaren is a saxophonist with a melodic approach. When digging deeper in his thematic material, Iman looks for a marriage between story telling and exploring” (Hessel Fluitman, Jazzflits)

Flow (Iman Spaargaren Quartet & Septet): ”A melodically and harmonically promising modern jazz album with originals and fine arrangements. Iman's compositions stand for very melodical, light-footed musical lines. Spaargaren solos with great skill: modest and beautifully frased; he lets his emotions run free ... this album transcents mediocracy” (

“On his first solo album Iman Spaargaren emphasizes on contemporary adventure. Flow sounds free and restrained at the same time. Iman Spaargaren Quartet and Septet play eager and energetic, but remain within a melodical spectrum” (Johan Bakker, Nederlands Dagblad).

“Iman Spaargaren Quartet sounds engaging and plays a kinds of different compositions” (Tim Sprangers, de Volkskrant)

“Iman's quality and talent are unmistakable there; his melodic and harmonic characteristics are really strong, he is an obvious choice as a Young VIP” (Jan Jasper Tamboer,

Iman is a multi-reed player, arranger and composer. He has a distinctive way of playing and a very personal tone on his horn. Over the past years Iman has been busy with a wide variety of music groups such as Undercurrent Trio, StarkLinnemann Quartet, EyeMan All Stars, Beets, Spaargaren & Tuinstra, Voice of Monk, Iman Spaargaren Quartet & Septet, Captain Hook, European Union Quartet and Thelonious4. He is actively involved in the theatre piece My Father Held A Gun and the dance & music performance We Are The Everlasting Guests.

In 2019 Iman will release High Tide Low Tide on Flea Boy Records with Undercurrent Trio featuring Guillermo Celano and Marcos Baggiani. In 2018 Iman released the album Pictures at an Exhibition with StarkLinnemann Quartet as well as a double album in 2016: Transcending Chopin II & III. Two other albums were released in 2013: In The Moment with Iman Spaargaren Undercurrent on EyemanRecords and Thelonious4 meets Tony Miceli on DotTime Records.

In 2012 Iman and his Iman Spaargaren Quartet did the prestigious Young VIPs Tour 2012. He released the third album with Thelonious4 featuring Tony Miceli. A series of concerts followed with Thelonious4 in the US and with European Union Quartet in Holland, Belgium and the UK. October 2011 brought the release of the second album of the European Union Quartet called 'The Dark Peak'. It's on the O.A.P. label and contains a lot of originals of Iman's. Just before that he released the burning live cd 'Live at the Hot House' with Thelonious4. July saw the birth of 'Plunge!', Captain Hook's third cd. And to give the year 2011 a head start Iman put out his first cd with the Iman Spaargaren Quartet called 'Flow'. With Captain Hook he played at the Melkweg and the BIMhuis in Amsterdam and did two radio shows for 'Mijke's Middag' and VPRO's 'JaBoGumbo Show'. In 2010 Iman worked together with some of the finest musicians in the Netherlands to record his own music on his first cd with his own group; flute player Mark Lotz, trumpet player Gerard Kleijn, guitarist Marzio Scholten and saxophonist Marike van Dijk joined in to play beautiful arrangements made by Iman.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 he has been on tour with the European Union Quartet to Belgium, Holland, UK and Ireland. He had radio and television appearances with the New Generation Big Band, such as a live-tv show 'Een van de Acht' on NL 2 hosted by Hennie Huisman. With Muistot Orchestra he toured in Finland in 2009, one of the concerts was at Juttutupa, Helsinki. In 2009 Iman worked with Captain Hook in 'Vrije Geluiden', VPRO Television and at the BIMhuis. The group had a showcase on the Day of Dutch Jazz (Dag van de Nederlandse Jazz). The track 'Bonus' has been released on the compilation-cd of the winter-edition (2009 - 2010) of the magazine 'Jazzism'. In 2008 Iman produced the first album of Thelonious4 and the debut album of the European Union Quartet which has 4 of Iman's compositions on it. In 2007 Captain Hook released the second album f.ex and played a series of concerts with the modern classical saxophone quartet Esquire. Three arrangements by Iman were played. 2007 gave Iman also the opportunity to play at the Erasmus Jazzprijs competition. With the New Generation Bigband he played live in 'De Wereld Draait Door'. In 2006 Iman performed with Captain Hook at the prestigious Dutch Jazzcompetition.

Iman studied with Benjamin Herman, Simon Rigter and Ben van den Dungen at the Rotterdam Conservatoir (Codarts) for his Masters degree. He studied for his bachelors at the Conservatoir of Amsterdam with Ferdinand Povel and Dick Oatts.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it is the sound of freedom; I was first exposed to jazz when my parents drove me to my grandmother and we listened to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on tape (!); The best show I ever attended was the first concert of the Wayne Shorter Quartet in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam some years ago; it really blew my mind; The first jazz record I bought was Lush Life from John Coltrane; My advice to new listeners is to go with the general mood and not to get distracted by details.

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