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20-04-1946 - current


fluit, jazz, percussie, sampler, saxofoon, toetsinstrumenten, vocalen


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Alan Laurillard

From the early 70s Alan Laurillard (Vancouver, Canada, 20 April 1946) draws attention with all kinds of workshops, projects and bands in the city Groningen, in which he links jazz from various periods with other Western and non-Western forms of music and dance. Inspired by the new electric funk ...
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fluit, percussie, sampler, saxofoon, toetsinstrumenten, vocalen

Mentioned in the biography of

1981   Noodband
1996   Michiel Scheen

Biography Alan Laurillard

From the early 70s Alan Laurillard (Vancouver, Canada, 20 April 1946) draws attention with all kinds of workshops, projects and bands in the city Groningen, in which he links jazz from various periods with other Western and non-Western forms of music and dance. Inspired by the new electric funk jazz from the States, presented at the Groningen Jazzmarathon, he starts the Noodband in 1981, a double-barreled trio, with two saxophonists, two bassists and two drummers. When vocalist Greetje Bijma joins the group, the Noodband manages to break through both nationally and internationally. A year later Laurillard receives the Boy Edgar Prijs (the foremost Dutch jazz award). In 1995 he sets up shop in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam, where he comes into close contact with purveyors of contemporary urban music. Since 2007 he has been dividing his time between the Netherlands and Bulgaria.


Alan Laurillard starts playing the French horn and alto saxophone in a neighborhood orchestra in his home town.


Laurillard starts his first rock 'n' roll band.

1960 - 1963

He takes up private lessons in theory, composing and arranging with Gordon Webster. He is a member of the North Vancouver School Band, which becomes Canadian national champion in 1960.

1962 - 1967

Soul band The Accents asks him as their saxophonist. He also works semi-professionally with rock 'n' roll, blues and dance bands, for which he also does the arrangements. He also starts studying piano, percussion and music theory.

1967 - 1972

He takes up a study in mechanical engineering.


Alan Laurillard moves to the Netherlands. He starts giving workshops in the Amsterdam venue Oktopus, and earns his money cleaning Oktopus, and building a studio there. De Elastiek Band is is his first Dutch group as a a leader; he also plays in Sail Joia.


Laurillard makes his recording debut, with organist Herbert Noord's combo. He moves to the village of Eenrum in the province of Groningen. In the city of Groningen he makes a name for himself by regularly playing sessions. Laurillard initiates the Groninger Workshop Orkest, in which veterans play alongside talented youngsters.

1975 - 1977

Laurillard takes workshops and classes at the Zwolle conservatory, where Herman Schoonderwalt, Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink are his mentors.

Han Bennink Herman Schoonderwalt Misha Mengelberg


Together with pianist Robert Rettich he starts the Super Jazz Kwartet, which regularly plays in discotheque De Troubadour and other venues in the city of Groningen.


Laurillard receives his first composition commission from the Groningen city council.


With saxophonist Frans Vermeerssen Laurillard founds the Vertical Saxophone Quartet. He starts giving workshops in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Kenya and Mexico. In additon he gives multimedia performances and solo recitals. The Gulden Ventiel award is awarded to him. He is commissioned to write a composition for the Boekenweek (Dutch book promotion week) to be performed by the ensemble Gamma.

Frans Vermeerssen


With the Alan Laurillard Quartet he records New Blues, his first LP as a leader. Other projects are the Improvised Music Ensemble, the Alan Laurillard Nonet and the successful Noodband.



Theater group Wark commissions Laurillard to write the music for Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan. He is awarded the Boy Edgar Prijs (the foremost Dutch jazz award). From the jury report: ‘He is a good saxophonist and writes interesting, highly individual and fresh music. Not only does he employ these qualities to further his own career as an instrumentalist and band leader, but he also uses them to stimulate talented musicians and new groups, and to initiate new musical directions. It is largely his doing that Groningen has become a new Mecca for Dutch jazz and improvised music.'


With trumpeter Adam Olivier Laurillard starts La Vida Super Nova, an ensemble which gives a contemporary slant on traditional New Orleans jazz. He also writes material for Hans Hoeksema's Tam Tam Fanfare, in which the brass band idiom is extended with West African rhythms


The Noodband, which successfully toured Germany, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Poland and Austria, gets a facelift. Vocalist Greetje Bijma did already leave the band at an earlier stage. Laurillard becomes the musical director of the Greetje Bijma Quartet.

Greetje Bijma


Laurillard is awarded the Henri de Wolf Jazzprijs, an initiative of the Groningen art gallery Forma Aktua.


As a result of two composition commissions Laurillard starts a series of concerts with his Improvised Music Ensemble in which the classical church organ repertoire is extended with elements from improvised music and African rhythms.


With the arrival of keyboard player Kees Post the Alan Laurillard Quartet is rechristened as The Liontamer of Perpetuum. Together with another keyboard player, Jasper van 't Hof, he realizes the organ project On The Balcony at the Groningen concert hall De Oosterpoort.

Jasper van 't Hof


The Improvised Music Ensemble does a tour with the project Up There for voice, church organ and improvisation group. Continental Contrasts is a collaboration between Laurillard, Bijma and the Indian musicians Subroto Roy Chowdbury and Asot Pal.


The Groningen art venue De Salon commissions Laurillard to write the electronic work Somebody Bleeped.


A reunion performance by the Noodband marks Laurillard's move to Amsterdam. His final project in Groningen is The Blasters, a Finnish style shouting choir.

1997 - 2001

Together with violinist JP Bollen Laurillard founds the ensemble Seafood, which combines classical and improvised music with contemporary dance beats. Other projects in this period are The Link, Beat Dreams, In Da-Da Pocket, Jerkstation, Air Game, Beat Sharks, Slam Beat City, the ZuiderZee Orkest, Phone Mapping and Coalizion. These are solo projects (Jerkstation), collaborations with VJs (Coalizion), youth ensembles (In Da-Da Pocket) and larger groups (ZuiderZee Orkest). From 1999 Laurillard organizes the festival Luchtkastelen (Castles in the Air) in Groningen, Amsterdam and Den Bosch, featuring a continuation of the Improvised Music Ensemble, the Up There Trio. The church organ takes up a central role in this trio. It is played by either Klaas Hoek, Fred van Hove, Christine Kamp, Misha Mengelberg, Yuzuru Hiranaka, Bert Matter or Guus Janssen.

Fred van Hove Guus Janssen


Together with saxophonists Steven Kamperman and originator Henk Spies Laurillard starts the ensemble Going Down, in which the theme Man & Machine takes shape, by means of synthesizers and effects.

Henk Spies Steven Kamperman

2007 - 2011

Projects in Bulgaria, where Alan Laurillard lives for a number of months each year. Here he has his own trio, and he works with rock band Food, the End Blues band, the Dobrich Arts Ensemble and the Dobrich Poets Collective. Back in the Netherlands he operates The Griot with pianist and storyteller Burton Greene and drummer and vocalist Alex Siegers, from 2008 to 2010.

Discography Alan Laurillard

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.

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