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Rob Agerbeek


28-09-1937 - current


bebop, blues, boogie-woogie, dixie, hard bop, jazz, piano

Rob Agerbeek

Robbert Arris Jules Agerbeek (Batavia, currently Jakarta, 28 September 1937) takes one piano lesson from his mother, but other than that he is self-taught. He teaches himself to play the piano (initially only on the black keys) by listening to records. The first few years he is under the spell ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1993   Jaap Dekker
1993   Rob Hoeke

Biography Rob Agerbeek

Robbert Arris Jules Agerbeek (Batavia, currently Jakarta, 28 September 1937) takes one piano lesson from his mother, but other than that he is self-taught. He teaches himself to play the piano (initially only on the black keys) by listening to records. The first few years he is under the spell of boogie-woogie, but later he extends his range to bebop, hardbop and dixieland in the everyday practice of the jazzclubs. Until 1965 he is a fulltime pianist, but starts combining it with an office job until 1997. He then completely devotes himself to jazz again. He accompanies over a hundred foreign, i.e. American, and by now even legendary jazz musicians in Europe and the US. Musicians like Rob Hoeke, André Valkering and Eeco Rijken Rapp thrive on his services as a teacher.

1937 - 1954

His father is a mechanic with the Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (Royal Dutch Packet Boat Company) in the Dutch East Indies; his mother is a classically trained piano teacher working at home. She gives Rob his first and only lesson at the age of ten, with the verdict that he will never learn to play the piano. Rob Agerbeek goes to high school wanting to become a teacher.

1954 - 1956

The Agerbeek family moves to the Netherlands and settles in Voorburg (near The Hague), where a cousin introduces Rob Agerbeek to boogie-woogie records by Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis. During this time he also meets pianist Hein van der Gaag. He learns so fast that he forms his own quartet within a year, with drummer Gerry Teekens, bassist Koos Montfoort and guitarist Han ter Keurs. The latter is soon replaced by Koos van der Hoeven. The Rob Agerbeek Quartet shares the first prize in the AVRO Jazz Competition with the trad jazz band The Lion Hill Jazzmen led by Karel Fray. The prize consists of a commemorative tile and a performance for AVRO radio.


On 14 June the Rob Agerbeek Quartet with Gerry Teekens, bassist Jan Fens and guitarist Wim Hoogsteder wins the The Hague Jazz Competition, organized by the Lyceïsten Bond Grotius. On 5 July the quartet wins the National Jazz Competiton, with Henk Bosch van Drakestein (a.k.a. Hank Wood) on bass. Agerbeek here makes his debut as a composer with the song Goofy. He drops out from teachers training college to roam through Sweden with The Hague painter Ardy Struwer and others.


Agerbeek ends his rambles in Stockholm, where he works as a dishwasher in a restaurant during the daytime, and tries to play in a jazzclub at night. He backs Swedish baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin and plays with the American bassist Jimmy Woode.

1960 - 1961

Band leader Gert Höll offers Agerbeek a job over the phone in his Peggy Miller Band. The band, named after Höll's wife, plays jazz and dance music for American soldiers in France.

1962 - 1964

The former Ellington trumpeter Nelson Williams temporarily takes up residence in Voorburg and is backed on several occasions by Agerbeek, drummer Ruud Pronk and bassist Dick van der Capellen. Bassist Jacques Schols asks Agerbeek to join The Diamond Five as a replacement for pianist Cees Slinger, who takes up a fulltime office job with the Hoogovens steelworks. Rob Agerbeek here befriends tenor saxophonist Harry Verbeke, with whom he will regularly record over the next fifteen years. Because he now plays so much bebop, boogie-woogie is temporarily put on the backburner.

Harry Verbeke Jacques Schols


The Amsterdam based American saxophonist Don Byas forms a quartet with Rob Agerbeek, drummer Leo de Ruiter and bassist Tony van Hall. In the same year Agerbeek marries. For the sake of a greater financial security he takes on an office job and opts for a busy double life as an office clerk and a jazz pianist with many concerts abroad, until his retirement in 1997.

1966 - 1975

Agerbeek leads his own quartet and quintet, and his trio backs famous American musicians like the saxophonists Ben Webster, Hank Mobley, Dexter Gordon, George Coleman, Johnny Griffin and Gene Ammons. With Gordon and his trio, featuring bassist Henk Haverhoek and drummer Eric Ineke, he records the double LP All Souls at the Haagse Jazz Club in 1972. For the CBS label Rob Agerbeek records a number of boogie-woogie albums. He incidentally plays with Jan Pieters's The Swing Society. He also makes his debut as a piano sub in the Dutch Swing College Band. He forms a new trio with bassist Harry Emmery and drummer Ben Schröder, which remains unchanged for the next thirty years.

Eric Ineke Harry Emmery


Drummer Art Blakey invites Rob Agerbeek, in whom he detects a Horace Silver-like style, for a ten day European tour with his Jazz Messengers, because pianist Mickey Tucker has been arrested by the English border police for drugs possession. After the tour Blakey wants Agerbeek to come and join him in the States. His daytime job stands in Agerbeek's way, however. North Sea Jazz Festival promoter Paul Acket chooses Agerbeek from the very first edition of his festival as accompanist for American musicians like Frank Foster, Cecil Payne, Clark Terry, Al Grey, Eddy 'Cleanhead' Vinson, Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove.

Paul Acket

1977 - 1981

Trumpeter Bert de Kort revives The Dixieland Pipers, which had been disbanded when leader Eric Krans did leave the band in 1963. Clarinetist Jan Morks, trombonist Dick Sleeman, drummer Nanning van der Hoop, bassist Alfred Smidt and pianist Rob Agerbeek fill out the band.

1986 - 1989

The Rob Agerbeek Trio, with bassist Harry Emmery and drummer-vibraphonist Frits Landesbergen, accompanies singer Ann Burton amongst others.

Ann Burton

1991 - 1992

His international fame as a boogie-woogie pianist becomes clear when Agerbeek receives an invitation to the Les Nuits de Jazz et Boogie festival in Paris, where he becomes an annual guest. He regularly works with the singer Daisy (Bell) Oosterhuis, and occasionally also accompanies Greetje Kauffeld, Rita Reys and Elaine Delmar.

Greetje Kauffeld Rita Reys

1996 - 1999

Together with fellow boogie-woogie pianists Rob Hoeke and Jaap Dekker he does three theater tours under the name The Grand Piano Boogie Train. The idea for the program was born in a regional radio show in The Hague area, called Jazz op West, where host Fred Racké set up Agerbeek with fellow boogie-woogie pianists Hein van der Gaag and André Valkering.

Jaap Dekker

1999 - 2004

When pianist Fred Murray leaves The Dutch Swing College Band, Rob Agerbeek comes in as his replacement until 2004.

Dutch Swing College Band


Rob Agerbeek celebrates his fiftieth anniversary as a musician with a tour, accompanied by his longtime trio partners, bassist Harry Emmery en drummer Ben Schröder. The new Dutch label Blue Jack Jazz Records adds luster to the anniversary by reissuing Agerbeek's LP Homerun from 1971 on CD, and releasing a new studio recording with the American trumpeter John Marshall.

2007 - 2016

The Rob Agerbeek Trio, with bassist Alex Milo replacing Harry Emmery, and drummer Ben Schröder, performs in jazzclubs and at festivals, and backs musicians like the tenor saxophonists Ferdinand Povel, David Lukacs and Sjoerd Dijkhuizen, and singer Daisy Oosterhuis.

Daisy Oosterhuis Ferdinand Povel Sjoerd Dijkhuizen

Discography Rob Agerbeek

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 Rob Agerbeek

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