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31-12-1928 - 14-09-2009


arrangeur, componist, dirigent, jazz, trompet

Jerry van Rooyen

Jerry van Rooyen (born as Gerard van Rooijen in Rijswijk, 31 December 1928 – Goor, 14 September 2009) starts off as a trumpeter in various jazz and dance bands after WW II. As an arranger and composer he works both in the Netherlands and abroad, builds an international reputation as ...
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arrangeur, componist, dirigent, trompet

Mentioned in the biography of

1943   Ack van Rooyen
1952   Ger van Leeuwen
1954   Harry Verbeke
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Biography Jerry van Rooyen

Jerry van Rooyen (born as Gerard van Rooijen in Rijswijk, 31 December 1928 – Goor, 14 September 2009) starts off as a trumpeter in various jazz and dance bands after WW II. As an arranger and composer he works both in the Netherlands and abroad, builds an international reputation as a band leader. He is also a charismatic teacher, who plays a major role in the development of the jazz department of Hilversum Conservatory and in jazz education in the Netherlands in general.

1947 - 1954

As a member of Tom van der Stap's band De Witte Raven Gerard van Rooijen and his brother Arie (who will later call himself Ack) perform in the former Dutch East Indies in early 1947. Late 1947 the brothers start their studying the trumpet at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where Gerard also takes classes in composing and arranging. He even learns to play the violin for a while. As temporary members of a dance band on board a passenger ship the brothers visit New York in 1949, where they get to see jazz heroes like Fats Navarro and Charlie Parker in the lively local club scene. They arrive home with bags full of records and start applying their New York experiences in the Rob Pronk Boptet, one of the first Dutch bebop outfits. The band regularly performs at the Amsterdam jazzclub Sheherazade, until the group disbands in late 1951. Gerard joins the big band of the Dutch based Danish band leader Boyd Bachman, who likes to present Jerry van Rooyen (as he likes to be called now) as his son, and immerses him in his musical activities. Some months later his brother Ack also joins the big band, which operates internationally. In 1954 the Jerry van Roy Sextet starts out at the Club de l'Etoile in The Hague, featuring Jerry on vibraphone and once again his brother Ack on trumpet. But since they can't play their own music, the Sextet disbands after three months and Jerry van Rooyen joins the Wessel Ilcken Combo with singer Rita Reys at the Sheherazade. Six months later he becomes a member of Theo Uden Masman's The Ramblers, which already has Ack van Rooyen in its ranks. The Ramblers has only little room for jazz and Masman decides to offer the Van Rooyen brothers and the saxophonists Kees and Tinus Bruijn (also brothers) a special space to do so. Completed by the band's rhythm section they record an LP as the The Red and Brown Brothers (the English translation of their family names).

Ack van Rooyen The Ramblers Wessel Ilcken

1955 - 1964

As an arranger and musician Jerry van Rooyen participates in the Philips series Jazz Behind The Dikes (three LPs) and the Bovema project Jazz From Holland, which both feature modern Dutch jazz for the first time. He then leaves for France to work with band leader Aimé Barelli as arranger and trumpeter. Because of embouchure problems he changes his focus, soon becoming an in demand composer and arranger. He starts working with record company Philips as a producer in Paris in the 1950s, and befriends Michel Legrand and Quincy Jones; a healthy basis for later collaborations. He is even appointed as artistic director of Philips France. He works with Marlene Dietrich, Stan Getz, Max Roach, Kenny Clarke (his neighbor across the street) and many other temporary inhabitants of the city that is an important center of the European jazz scene at the time.

1965 - 1972

Van Rooyen is asked to lead the band of the Sender Freies Berlin, and relocates to Berlin, where he also starts working as a composer and arranger for radio and film. Having met film producer Pier A. Caminneci he writes the music for at least seven of his horror and espionage films. They are often B-movies, featuring such titles as The Vampire Happening, Im Schloß der blutigen Begierden en Rote Lippen, Sadisterotica. Years later (in 1996) German film lovers release an anthology of this music on CD: Jerry van Rooyen at 250 Miles per Hour. In 1997 the English triphop group Funki Porcini uses some of this material for a 12” single entitled Funki Porcini Vs Jerry van Rooyen. Together with Peter Herbolzheimer and Dieter Reith Van Rooyen composes the opening music for the 1972 Olympics. This earns him international fame; he is even awarded the Bundes Verdienst Kreuz. Meanwhile he stays in touch with the Netherlands; in 1971 he assembles a 17 piece Festival Big Band for the NOS/Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, featuring international greats like Benny Bailey, Herb Geller, Tony Coe, Rolf Ericson, Åke Persson, Ack van Rooyen, Cees Smal, Piet Noordijk, Herman Schoonderwalt, Rob Madna, Rob Langereis and Rob Franken. The recordings find their way on the album Explosive!. Five out of nine tracks were penned by Van Rooyen.

1973 - 1984

Back in the Netherlands Van Rooyen works as a producer for the AVRO broadcasting company, both for radio and TV (being responsible for the radio program Metro's Midnight Music and others). He is appointed as artistic director of the jazz department of the Muziek Pedagogische Academie Hilversum, later rechristened to Hilversum Conservatory. Between 1977 and 1983 he is the producer, recording engineer and assistant manager of the AVRO's Light Music department. He leads various orchestras, including The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, with his childhood friend Rob Madna, from 1983. In the 1990s the band focuses on performing unrecorded (and often unperformed) compositions and arrangements by Billy Strayhorn. Four CDs with this music are met with critical acclaim all over the world.

Rob Madna

1985 - 1994

Again Van Rooyen relocates to Germany. He is appointed as conductor and composer with the WDR Big Band. He also appears as a guest lecturer at many European conservatories. In 1987 he and his friend Joop de Roo are responsible for the production of a CD by singer Greetje Kauffeld featuring the Metropole Orchestra's strings, conducted by Rogier van Otterloo. The album My Romance is awarded an Edison (Dutch Grammy). Between 1988 and 1991 Van Rooyen is a regular guest conductor with the Metropole Orchestra; and later on he often returns to lead the orchestra. In 1994 Timeless Records releases the CD On The Scene With The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, featuring Jerry van Rooyen both as a composer and a conductor.

Greetje Kauffeld Metropole Orkest

1995 - 2009

A milestone in The Dutch Jazz Orchestra's Strayhorn project is the concert given in 1995 at the Ellington-Strayhorn conference in Pittsburgh. Here the orchestra performs a number of world premieres of Strayhorn compositions in the presence of the late composer's relatives. Van Rooyen also gives a number of clinics with the orchestra in the States. After his retirement in 1995 he is regularly invited to give guest lectures and workshops at various conservatories and international festivals, including the annual congress of the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) in the US. Having worked for the WDR in Cologne for nearly ten years, he moves to Enschede in the late 1990s, where he is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. After a musical career spanning fifty years Jerry van Rooyen has to spend the last ten years of his life in a nursing home in the town of Goor, where he dies on 14 September 2009 at the age of 80.

Discography Jerry van Rooyen

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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