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Take Five With Iman Spaargaren


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Meet Iman Spaargaren:
Iman is a multi-reed player, arranger and composer. He has a distinctive way of playing and a very personal tone on his horn. During the past few years Iman has been busy with a wide variety of music groups such as Iman Spaargaren Quartet & Septet, Captain Hook, European Union Quartet and Thelonious4.

Tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute.

Teachers and/or influences?
Teachers: Yuri Honing; Michiel Borstlap; Ferdinand Povel; Jasper Blom; Dick Oatts; Simon Rigter; Benjamin Herman; Ben van den Dungen;
Influences: John Coltrane; Joe Henderson; Eddie Harris; Dexter Gordon; Sonny Rollins; Stan Getz; Dick Oatts; Joe Lovano.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I heard Hans Dulfer play his horn on a radio broadcast of a live recording of a concert at Cafe Alto in Amsterdam, years ago... It was full of energy and very groovy. The two tenors (also with Boris van der Lek) took the music to another level.

Your sound and approach to music:
My sound on the horn is personal and distinctive but hard to describe; but what the ... I'll give it a try: ranging from soft and intimate to loud and fierce. I like to use different ways of tonging, attack, texture. I try to be as flexible as Joe Henderson, rhythmically and as lyrical as John Coltrane. Music, for me, is a very intense and joyful way to express myself. I like to explore different rhythms, harmonies, colors and grooves in my music.

Your teaching approach:
My approach is to create a relaxed atmosphere in which the student can explore music. I suggest various possibilities and try to stimulate the student to reach for a level just a bit ahead of him.

Your dream band:
Iman Spaargaren on tenor saxophone; Marzio Scholten on guitar; Cord Heineking on double-bass; Klaas van Donkersgoed on drums.

Favorite venue:
BIMhuis, Amsterdam for performing as well as attending a concert.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Flow, by the Iman Spaargaren Quartet & Septet, because I feel proud I had the courage to record originals and my own arrangements with such fine musicians, and the result is more than I expected.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Soulstation, by Hank Mobley.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
To confront listeners with nice music; as simple as that.

Did you know...
that Iman is actually a Dutch boy name from the province of Zeeland?

CDs you are listening to now:
Chris Potter, Follow the Red Line (Universal Music);

Andreas Metzler, Bassolutions;

Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistering (Blue Note);

Celano Baggiani Group, Alienology (TryTone);

John Scofield, Hand Jive (Blue Note).

Desert Island picks:
Joe Henderson, Power to the People (Milestone).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Inspiring, happening, very many different sorts of jazz, and many, many good players

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Keep listeners curious about music and jazz music in particular; education in jazz.

What is in the near future?
The near future brings the release of Plunge!, by Captain Hook; a small tour and release of the second album by the European Union Quartet; a tour in Germany with Thelonious4, the VIP-tour in the Netherlands with the Iman Spaargaren Quartet.

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

Photo Credit
Courtesy of Iman Spaargaren

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