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Take Five With Bob Wijnen

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Meet Bob Wijnen:

Bob Wijnen is a pianist of great sensitivity and depth. Much in demand as an accompanist, he is known for having some of the best ears around, as well as being an elegant and adventurous soloist who has absorbed a great deal of the history of jazz piano.

He has toured Indonesia (Java Jazz Festival), Michigan USA, and Iceland, and can be heard on CDs by Maygus (Double Moon Records), Sanna van Vliet 's Insight (Munich Records), Klemens Marktl Quartet featuring Jasper Blom's The Challenge (Jazz 'n' Arts), Triplicate, featuring Eric Ineke and Equinox with Dutch jazz giants Sjoerd Dijkhuizen and Marcel Serierse.

Wijnen continues to grow as a pianist. Furthermore he's increasingly concentrating on composing and arranging.

Instrument(s):

Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, synthesizer.

Teachers and/or influences?

Frans Elsen, Rob van Kreeveld, Barry Harris, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Nat King Cole, Brad Mehldau.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

Actually since I was nine, but for sure when I was studying law at the university.

Your sound and approach to music:

For me music has to sound natural and not forced. A natural swing, natural groove, natural dynamics, and a natural performance as well. Whatever natural means, that's up to you. To me it means not putting gimmicks in the first place. Music always comes first.

Your teaching approach:

Online piano lessons are great, but your computer will only give you one-way communication. Communication is most important. It's not about me telling the student what licks to play. It's about finding out all possibilities and building upon it, with the least amount of physical effort.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

This one still has to be released, but I'm very excited about it because everything just worked on the days we were recording. I'll post about it as soon as possible.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Art Blakey, Live at Birdland.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

From what I notice is that when people dig what I'm doing, they really dig it and it makes them feel good.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

In general I have the idea that jazz is marketed in the wrong direction and thrown on this big heap of what people call world music, but there are great exceptions to it. The music of Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart, James Farm, Snarky Puppy, Brad Mehldau, Bill Charlap, Sean Jones, to name a few, gives me a good vibe that jazz will always stay.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Education most definitely, so people can learn to grow into it. Jazz is not the easiest thing to immediately understand.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Don't Worry About Me," Frank Sinatra.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

No clue. Either I would have finished law school or become a photographer.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Bob Wijnen

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