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Promotiefoto Louis van Dijk


27-11-1941 - 12-04-2020


classical, jazz, music theatre, orgel, piano


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Louis Vandyke

Louis van Dijk

Arnold Ludwig (Louis) van Dijk (Amsterdam, 27 November 1941) plays jazz, classical music, jazzy classical music, easy-listening and accompanies cabaret performers and chansonniers, notably Ramses Shaffy. He also gives jazzy interpretations of hit parade material. He does not want to make clear choices, leading to scornful reactions by what he ...
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orgel, piano

Mentioned in the biography of

1944   Max Bolleman
1963   John Engels
1966   Big John Russell
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Biography Louis van Dijk

Arnold Ludwig (Louis) van Dijk (Amsterdam, 27 November 1941) plays jazz, classical music, jazzy classical music, easy-listening and accompanies cabaret performers and chansonniers, notably Ramses Shaffy. He also gives jazzy interpretations of hit parade material. He does not want to make clear choices, leading to scornful reactions by what he himself laughingly calls 'the jazz police'. 'The Dutch jazz freaks have a narrow-mindedness that is largely unknown elsewhere.' (1) He seldom complains, since he enjoys making a good living off playing light and classical music. The walls of his luxury apartment on one of the Amsterdam islands are adorned by three Edisons (Dutch Grammys), nineteen golden and three platinum records. The jubilee boxed set A Portrait in Music has him interpreting The Beatles on church organ, accompanying classical soprano Elly Ameling singing jazz, and playing a piano duet with Pieter van Vollenhoven (the Dutch queen's brother in law).

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Gevleugelde Vrienden   piano

1960 - 1967

As a child Van Dijk is a devoted piano student, and is regularly spotted at the church organ, where he has his first experience improvising. After high school he moves on to the Amsterdam Conservatory. The inquisitive young man continues to frequent the institute until 1968. He studies organ and piano and graduates cum laude as a classical pianist. From 1960 he has been playing jazz met with his own trio and in a quartet featuring vibraphonist Carl Schulze. In 1961 the Louis van Dijk Trio wins the Loosdrecht Jazz Competition. As a pianist Van Dijk is an obvious fan of Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell and Bill Evans. But the influence of his greatest idol also shows in his playing: Johann Sebastian Bach. After some personnel changes the trio gets its definitive form with bassist Jacques Schols and drummer John Engels. Both hail from the recently disbanded Diamond Five and hence have time on their hands.

Jacques Schols John Engels

1968 - 1975

In the sixties and seventies the trio visits the recording studio every other year, not only to record undiluted jazz, but also interpretations of classical melodies and pop hits. Van Dijk turns classical music into jazz and plays Michel Legrand's The Windmills Of Your Mind as if Bach were at the keyboard. He soon becomes somewhat of a celebrity with a wider audience, notably as the accompanist and musical director for Ramses Shaffy, who makes a name for himself as a kind of Dutch Jacques Brel. In the meantime he does studio work, for the Hilversum producers also know where they can find him. Van Dijk is in his early thirties when he is on his way to a gig, parks his car by the side of the road to phone his wife to ask where it is that he is to perform that night. His doctor diagnoses him to be 'hugely overworked.' (1) For a year and a half Van Dijk withdraws at a farm in the village of Dalfsen. It is there that he decides to take control of his own life. Until then the gigs kept coming in and he couldn't say no. He decides to refuse to play badly paid jazz gigs en improves his classical 'chops' with the help of his good friend 'Daantje', a.k.a. concert pianist Daniël Wayenberg.

Ann Burton Daniel Wayenberg Ramses Shaffy

1976 - 1987

The trio with Jacques Schols and John Engels gradually disintegrates. The audience interest in jazz is on the increase, and the bassist and drummer are too busy playing pure jazz gigs. The unpolished chansonnier Ramses Shaffy, whom the trio has been backing so long and so faithfully, becomes less and less reliable because of his reckless lifestyle. Van Dijk does not seek connection with the jazz purists, who don't like the looks of him in these years of polarization. All the same, he is hardly unemployed. He finds work in theaters and classical concert halls. In theaters he works with singer Rita Reys and various cabaret performers, in the concert halls with Daniël Wayenberg and other classical musicians 'Jazz is a bit like prostitution', he states in an interview. 'You have expose yourself completely, show your feelings. In classical music that is much less the case, and to some people downright not done. You have to move people through what the composer wrote, and don't get moved yourself. There is a certain distance, which I find comfortable.' The Gevleugelde Vrienden, a piano threesome featuring Pim Jacobs and Pieter van Vollenhoven, draws large crowds playing easily digestible music. The trio is again outlawed by the jazz world, even though the pianists only perform for charity.

Rita Reys

1988 - 2011

John Engels is awarded the Boy Edgar Prijs (the major Dutch jazz award) in 1988. For the award ceremony he invites many different musicians to the Amsterdam Bimhuis, Louis van Dijk being one of them. Writer J. Bernlef later remarks: 'There were fractions in the audience […], the mainstream audience from Hilversum spectators and the Bimhuis diehards, sitting there with arms crossed, looking sceptical. […] John started out the evening playing in the trio of Louis van Dijk Trio, this very commercial group he'd worked with for many years. And Louis van Dijk killed them all. In ten minutes he had the Bim guys tapping their feet. Fantastic.' The theater tours continue with various line-ups. Van Dijk is often seen in the company of vibraphonist-drummer Frits Landesbergen, bassist Edwin Corzilius, drummer John Engels and pianist Cor Bakker, just like himself a communicative musical omnivore. In 2000 he is knighted and in 2006 he receives a Gouden Harp (an award for outstanding performers in the light music world). His daughter, television presenter Selma van Dijk, joins him for a theater tour as a violinist and singer.

Cor Bakker Frits Landesbergen Selma van Dijk

Discography Louis van Dijk

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.

Photos Louis van Dijk

Audio/Video Louis van Dijk

Video Louis van Dijk

Afscheidsconcert Louis va...
Afscheidsconcert Louis van Dijk 14 september 2018
Louis van Dijk - een jazz...
Louis van Dijk - een jazzportret in 1 minuut
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Afscheidsconcert Louis van Dijk 14 september 2018

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