Take Five With Lars Dietrich


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Meet Lars Dietrich: Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Lars was introduced to the saxophone at the age of 10. After performing a duo TV show with famed jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Dietrich decided to pursue a career in music. At the age of fifteen he got accepted to study saxophone at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In 2005 after completing his Masters in Music degree in Amsterdam Lars received a full scholarship from Manhattan School of Music, Dietrich moved to New York and studied under Dick Oatts and Dave Liebman. As a leader Dietrich released his well-reviewed 2009 debut, Breek de Grond, and his 2011 solo album, Stand Alone.

Dietrich also co-leads the band, The Story, a collaborative group including Samir Zarif (tenor saxophone),John Escreet (piano), Zack Lober (bass) and Greg Ritchie (drums). Venues and festivals Dietrich performed at as a leader and with The Story include. The North Sea Jazz Festival, Town Hall, Iridium, Jazz Gallery, Bimhuis, 55Bar, Smalls, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola and Carnegie Hall, as well as tours throughout Canada, Europe and the United States and live radio broadcasts for CBC, VPRO. With The Story, Lars gave clinics at Queens College, University of New Orleans, McGill University, Humber College, York College, and Layola University.

Next to his own band Lars has also performed with Herbie Hancock, Dan Weiss, Jason Marsalis, Billy Hart, Ravi Coltrane, Ben Monder, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, David Binney, Donny McCaslin. For his achievements Lars Dietrich received the Julian van Dijkâ award (granted only to the best student throughout The Netherlands), the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Scholarship and the FAPK Scholarship. In May, 2007 Lars won the Downbeat College Soloist Award.


Alto saxophone, electronic gear.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Peter Guidi; Dick Oatts; David Binney.
Influences: John Coltrane, Richard James.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I heard the saxophone for the first time.

Your sound and approach to music: Be yourself. Cultivate who you are.

Your teaching approach: Technique comes first. Expression comes from yourself.

Your dream band:

As for now, I make solo albums. When I'm done exploring this side I hope to play with as many of my peers and heros as possible.

Favorite venue:

Bimhuis, without question. Best everything. For festivals I would say the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? My new album, Stand Alone. Because it's the album closest to reaching my goal as a musician.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Birth of the Cool, by Miles Davis.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? A hyper-condensed and cultivated expression of who I am. I think it is the only thing I and my peers have to offer that's truly unique.

Did you know...

my biggest interest next to music is space travel, time travel and everything else that has to do with the understanding and exploration of the idea that we are a collective group of primates floating around on a giant ball through a vast and unexplored space.

CDs you are listening to now: Tod Dockstader, Apocalypse;

Starkland Hudson Mohawke, Butter;

Warp Flying Lotus, Cosmogramma—Warp;

Peter Brötzman, 14 Love Poems;

John Coltrane, Live in Seattle.

Desert Island picks: Boards of Canada, Geogadi;

John Coltrane, At the Half Note;

Aphex Twin, Drukqs;

Geina Yamashirogumi, AKIRA: Original Soundtrack;

Shostakovich—All 15 Symphonies.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Not that good. I think there's an ongoing misconception that you need to be someone else before you can be yourself in Jazz music. Just be you. All the greats in music were solely concerned with the expression of what they had to offer.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? More people involved in creating something and interested in creating something they feel they have to offer to this world.

What is in the near future? My third album.

By Day:


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

Photo Credit
Courtesy of Lars Dietrich

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