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HARRY VERBEKE

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Period

10-04-1922 - 27-01-2004

Genre

baritonsaxofoon, entertainment, hobo, jazz, saxofoon

Harry Verbeke

Harry Verbeke (Leeuwarden, 10 April 1922 - Haarlem, 27 January 2004) is maybe the only Dutch tenorist with a directly identifiable sound. He developed his tone during the war years when he was forced to practice in a wardrobe when he was in hiding from the German occupiers. In spite ...
Full biography

Instruments

baritonsaxofoon, hobo, saxofoon

Mentioned in the biography of

1944   Max Bolleman
1948   Cees Smal
1950   Joop Korzelius
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Biography Harry Verbeke

Harry Verbeke (Leeuwarden, 10 April 1922 - Haarlem, 27 January 2004) is maybe the only Dutch tenorist with a directly identifiable sound. He developed his tone during the war years when he was forced to practice in a wardrobe when he was in hiding from the German occupiers. In spite of his grand sound he never gained the recognition he deserved. Jazz critic Bert Vuijsje: 'I remember a great number of his concerts that would have made five star albums. But for some reason Verbeke never succeeded in making a satisfying album as a leader.' (Oor, 1978). Verbeke's glory days were his years with the Diamond Five, 1958-1962.

Played in

Holland Kwartet   saxofoon
Millers  
The Diamond Five   saxofoon

1930 - 1940

As a child he takes violin lessons, starts playing the oboe, and later, influenced by Coleman Hawkins, the saxophone, and he plays with local bands. He moves to The Hague, where he becomes a member of the orchestra accompanying singer Rie Helmig, which does radio performances also. On the run from the Germans he goes into hiding with his parents in Leeuwarden, where he keeps practicing.

1945 - 1947

He forms the Dive Up Swingers, and plays for the Canadian liberators. Later he rechristens the group as the Harry Verbeke Sextet and operates along the Belgian coast. After disbanding this group he proclaims never to head a band of his own again. He now also acquaints himself with American tenor colleagues like Lester Young and Flip Phillips.

1948 - 1951

Verbeke moves to Haarlem, and becomes a member of the Bamboozlers, where he meets trumpeter Cees Smal. Meanwhile he earns a living as a technical draughtsman.

Cees Smal

1951 - 1953

He joins the Miller Sextet, with which he plays all over West-Germany.

Millers

1953 - 1954

The tenorist becomes a member of the Flamingo Quintet, with which he makes his recording debut.

De Flamingo's

1954 - 1957

Verbeke is a member of various combos, like those led by Ted Powder, Eddy Christiani, Rob Pronk (on baritone saxophone), the Jerry van Rooyen Sextet, and the precursor to the Diamond Five, the Diamonds, with which he records his second album.

Eddy Christiani Jerry van Rooyen Rob Pronk (1)

1958 - 1962

Pianist Cees Slinger asks him as tenorist with the Diamond Five, which has a regular gig at the Sheherazade in Amsterdam. Hans Dulfer reminisces about those days: 'The whole Free and Easy group [from Quincy Jones's orchestra] was there, and the Americans wanted to play without 'those Dutchmen'. The Diamond Five willingly leave the stage, but at the last minute Phil Woods pulls Verbeke's jacket tails and says: 'You stay here!' Those were the years when he felt like a fish in the water. In Rhythme magazine critic Michiel de Ruyter jokes on the perpetual undervaluation of Verbeke. Late 1958-early '59 the running gag in his monthly column is that Harry Verbeke 'has finally cashed in', and that De Ruyter will prove it next month. But when the Diamond Five finally disband, Verbeke finds himself without a job.

1963 - 1966

He joins the extended saxophone section of Boy's Big Band, but that provides him with too little work. He gigs in orchestras accompanying singers and does occasional reunion concerts with the Diamond Five.

Boy's Big Band

1966 - 1968

Verbeke plays with a kind of rock 'n' roll quartet in Loosdrecht: 'The past few years I've played the most gruesome garbage you can imagine.' (de Volkskrant, 1968).

1968 - 1969

Tenorist promoter Hans Dulfer remembers Verbeke and invites him to play a few concerts in the Amsterdam Paradiso, where he is hailed by an enthusiastic crowd. He receives the Wessel Ilcken Prijs (the major Dutch jazz award) and he is able to record his first LP as a leader: Goin' Upstream.

Hans Dulfer

1970 - 1985

The award is no guarantee for regular work, and besides running his own quartet Verbeke keeps playing gigs to stay afloat financially.

Discography Harry Verbeke

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Audio/Video Harry Verbeke

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