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Hein Van de Geyn


18-07-1956 - current


basgitaar, contrabas, jazz

Hein Van de Geyn

Hein van de Geyn (Schijndel, 18 July 1956) combines the technique and elegance of his first idol Scott LaFaro with the solid beat of Paul Chambers. This makes him an empathic accompanist, and eventually also a remarkable producer, teacher and leader of his own band Baseline. Having lived in all ...
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basgitaar, contrabas

Mentioned in the biography of

1990   Bert van den Brink
1990   Randal Corsen
1993   Denise Jannah
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Biography Hein Van de Geyn

Hein van de Geyn (Schijndel, 18 July 1956) combines the technique and elegance of his first idol Scott LaFaro with the solid beat of Paul Chambers. This makes him an empathic accompanist, and eventually also a remarkable producer, teacher and leader of his own band Baseline. Having lived in all over the world, he finally settles down in the town of Dordrecht, as a home base for his concert tours. Since 2008 he has been leading the jazz department of the Rotterdam Conservatory. In his collection of interviews Go Man, Go! jazz critic Jeroen de Valk wrote: 'He is a bassist with the air of a star soloist. He tours internationally and manages to lift any ensemble he plays in several feet in the air.' In the spring of 2010 he surprises everyone by announcing his withdrawal from the music world, in order to lead a quieter life elsewhere. Until the summer Van de Geyn will meet some appointments he made earlier, and will then start a bed and breakfast in South Africa.

1975 - 1980

As a music education major at the Tilburg conservatory Van de Geyn, the son of a skilful amateur saxophonist and brother to baritone saxophonist Ton van de Geyn, buys a bass guitar and teaches himself to play it. Soon he is playing in various big bands and dixieland ensembles in the Tilburg area, and then considers it is time for a band of his own: Jasses. He writes all the material for Jasses, and enters the competition of the 1977 Laren Jazz Festival, where he is awarded the soloist's prize. Having already studied in Tilburg Van de Geyn is allowed to follow an extremely concise course at the newly opened jazz department of the Rotterdam Conservatory. In 1980 he graduates as the first Dutch certified jazz musician.

1980 - 1983

The bassist is not very happy with the Dutch jazz scene. In the previously mentioned interview he says: 'I was too young for the Hilversum bunch (of studio musicians) and didn't consider them to be adventurous enough. I couldn't work with musicians from the Amsterdam scene either, because they couldn't play chords, and often sounded so ugly.' From 1980 to 1983 he lives in the States; first in Seattle, and later in San Francisco, where he gradually manages to make a living, and regularly plays with alto saxophonist Bishop Norman Williams and drummer E.W. Wainwright.

1983 - 1995

Van de Geyn decides to drop his plan to 'make it' in New York, when the Americans he accompanies make it clear that you eventually will have to pay the rent by touring elsewhere. First he moves to England, later to Belgium. He doesn't need much more than a room where he can wash his socks, for he is permanently on tour. Usually as accompanist and musical director for Paris based American singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. But he also works a great deal with guitarist Philip Catherine, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and other cosmopolitans. Decisive for his career is the 1987 tour of Japan with Chet Baker. Since Baker is on methadone for weeks, and the band plays every night, the quartet develops an impressive cohesion. Van de Geyn, in the interview quoted earlier: 'Those concerts were very educational for me, as Chet was able to infuse everything he played with such magic and clarity. You were always forced to look for the same degree of beauty and intensity.'

1996 - 2009

The bassist decides he has learnt enough from touring, and settles down in the town of Dordrecht. He starts his own jazzclub – his Baseline Theatre – and accepts a regular job teaching at the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) in The Hague. In 2008 he switches to the Rotterdam Conservatory, to lead the jazz department. He pays a great deal of attention to the ensemble courses. 'Playing and experimenting a lot, that's how my idols learnt their trade.' The school is now part of Codarts, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (University for the Arts). Recovering from a burn-out in 2001, he spends six months in South-Africa, and writes the world's first all comprehensive method for double bass playing in jazz: his Comprehensive Bass Method. Back in the Netherlands he becomes more selective in taking on work: 'The only thing that counts for me now is musical substance. This is what I find in my collaborations with Paulien van Schaik, Toots Thielemans, Enrico Pieranunzi, Toon Roos, Bert van den Brink and my own band Baseline.' He does, however, remain immensely active, also as producer and co-owner of Challenge Records.

From now on the bassist decides to write his name as Hein Van de Geyn, to avoid confusion abroad. In 1996 he is awarded the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds's Muziekprijs.

Bert van den Brink

2010 - 2016

To everyone's surprise Van de Geyn announces his withdrawal from the music world. In an email he writes to journalist Jeroen de Valk: 'Few people realize how busy my life has been. I have done so much, given so much. Been on the road for so many years; from Tokyo via Dortmund to Rome and New York. After Dee Dee things quieted down a little, but then there was the teaching, the label, composing, the book… I have the feeling that I'm being pushed from behind constantly; that I hardly have any room to breathe. And the price you have to pay for those few beautiful hours of music is getting too high. All those traffic jams, sound checks and the hustle and bustle… I could just go on and drop down dead at 58. Then people would say: Geez, Hein, he was a great guy, always ready for you.' He starts a bed and breakfast in Scarborough, South Africa. There are some other factors at play: there is some land for sale adjoining his second home in the country, and his partner Cyrille has just given birth to their daughter Lulu.

Discography Hein Van de Geyn

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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