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Rob van Bavel


16-01-1965 - current


bebop, classical, fusion, jazz, piano


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Rob van Bavel

At the age of ten Rob van Bavel (Breda, 16 January 1965) knows that he wants to become a classical pianist, just like his father. But he eventually opts for jazz, in which he finds swing an absolute necessity, in the spirit of his idols Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1999   Eric Ineke
2001   Piet Noordijk
2011   Joris Teepe

Biography Rob van Bavel

At the age of ten Rob van Bavel (Breda, 16 January 1965) knows that he wants to become a classical pianist, just like his father. But he eventually opts for jazz, in which he finds swing an absolute necessity, in the spirit of his idols Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Shortly after his graduation (cum laude) from the Rotterdam conservatory he rapidly gains fame by winning a number of international prizes, and performing with a variety of groups. In the late eighties Rob van Bavel is the primus inter pares among the young Dutch jazz pianists. He works with his own bands: a duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, octet and even a fourteen piece big band. Over the years he has also been playing as a sideman with Ben van den Dungen & Jarmo Hoogendijk, Piet Noordijk, Eric Ineke, Ad Colen, Carolyn Breuer, Tineke Postma and Rik Mol. He gives concerts all over the world, from America to China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, and all over Europe. Van Bavel also makes name for himself as a composer. In this he shows an openness to influences from other styles and genres, but his roots are in American swing and bop. He is an inspiring teacher at the conservatories in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, who helps to form (aspiring) pianists all over the world with his course book Jazz Piano Essentials.

1965 - 1986

In the Van Bavel family home in Breda there is a grand piano, three uprights, a Hammond organ and a drum set. There are also some guitars about. Mother Roos van Bavel teaches guitar and organ. Vader Cees van Bavel is a classical pianist and teacher at a teacher training college. The family also runs a music shop in Breda. The young Rob van Bavel hears classical music every day. At the age of seven he is allowed to take piano lessons. But he is not taught by his father, since the experiences with Rob's older brother Kees have proven that Cees van Bavel is hardly the right music teacher for his own offspring. Rob van Bavel gets teachers from outside for piano and church organ, although the latter instrument does not agree with him. Soon he will accompany his father to classical concerts where he helps to turn the pages of the sheet music. Later the two will give concerts on two grand pianos. Rob van Bavel discovers jazz at parties given by his father's colleagues at the teacher training college. He is immediately in its spell. At his Breda grammar school he becomes the pianist in a dixieland band, and at the music school he forms a trio with bassist Anton Drukker and drummer Hans Eijkenaar. In his penultimate year at grammar school Rob van Bavel is accepted at the Tilburg Conservatory. He starts out in the classical department, but after a year he decides to continue his studies at the Rotterdam Conservatory, at the jazz department, where Rob van Kreeveld and Rob van der Linden are his teachers. Van Bavel combines the theory with a great deal of practice as a sideman in well-known and unknown regional jazz groups. The Rob van Bavel Trio is picked by the conservatory to accompany other students, but also visiting American teachers like flutist Hubert Laws and saxophonist Bob Mintzer.

1987 - 1989

Rob van Bavel graduates in May 1987 cum laude, 10 being his final mark. He immediately starts a new study: composing/arranging. By then he has a busy practice in music, as a pianist in the Jelle Oortman Gerlings Tentet, the jazzrock outfit Bad Circuits and the Jarmo Hoogendijk/Ben van den Dungen Quintet. He participates in various competitions and wins prizes (as a soloist). In August 1988 he receives a composition assignment from the NOS Jazz Festival at the Amsterdam Meervaart to write a Suite, which he performs with the fourteen piece Rob van Bavel Orchestra. A month later sees the premiere of his one hour long Suite for Octet, performed by the Rob van Bavel Octet at the Heineken Jazz Festival at the Rotterdam Doelen concert hall. A tour with his trio, plus saxophonist Jasper Blom, takes Van Bavel to Beijing and Shanghai. With the Jarmo Hoogendijk/Ben van den Dungen Quintet he does an eight day stint in Paris, and performs in Germany and Canada. In 1989 Van Bavel becomes a piano teacher at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Ben van den Dungen Jarmo Hoogendijk Jasper Blom

1990 - 1999

During two years Rob van Bavel undertakes a number of tours with the American trumpeter Woody Shaw. In 1992 he becomes the regular pianist of The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, and of the New Concert Big Band (later rechristened to Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw). It all starts when pianist Rob van Kreeveld is taken out because of heart attack, and Van Bavel is his replacement. He stays in the orchestra until Peter Beets finally takes over the piano position in 1999. Van Bavel starts teaching at the Hilversum Conservatory and continues at the New Amsterdam conservatory, which is the result of a merger between the Hilversum Conservatory and the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium.

Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw

2000 - 2005

Rob van Bavel is the pianist of the Piet Noordijk New Quintet, which gives concerts and records CDs. The young German altoist Carolyn Breuer asks him for her band, involving tours to Spain and Germany. Alto saxophonist Tineke Postma also asks him for her new group, which rapidly draws international attention. The American singer and teacher Nancy Marano visits the Netherlands for a series of concerts and a CD recording with a combo led by Rob van Bavel. For the Jazz Impuls agency Van Bavel participates in the double concert tour, with his Trio and Sister Bop, and with The Pitch Pine Project and Deborah J. Carter, respectively. During his studies in Rotterdam Van Bavel has met bass clarinetist Henri Bok, where the latter coordinated the jazz department. Bok and Van Bavel start a musical duo, which presents itself internationally with original compositions, jazz, Brazilian and classical music. Because Van Bavel notices a lack of jazz knowledge with aspiring conservatory students he writes the course book Jazz Piano Essentials, in which he includes a list of standards that all starting jazz musicians should know, in his opinion. The book is offered for sale on the internet, and thus doesn't go unnoticed in America and Asia. Since 1988 Van Bavel has been an annual presence at the North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2005 he performs a true tour de force, playing with eight different groups at the festival.

Tineke Postma

2006 - 2011

A piano manufacturer gives Van Bavel the opportunity to record a CD with his wife Annaelis (a teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, specializing as a pianist in South American music) and their two sons Sebastiaan (15 and a great piano talent) and Benjamin (9 and a relative piano novice). The talented young trumpeter Rik Mol, whom Van Bavel invited to join his quintet, in his turn asks the pianist for his new group. When Oscar Peterson dies in December 2007 Van Bavel writes a number of compositions in his manner as an homage to the great pianist. In order to perform the works he forms a trio with bassist Frans van Geest and guitarist Vincent van Koning named The Ghost, The King and I. The trio performs at the Tokyo Jazz Festival and in February 2010 the three men travel to a wintery Siberia (with temperatures of minus 40 Centigrade) for concerts in Novosibirsk and Tomsk. With Tineke Postma's group Van Bavel tours Vietnam. As a soloist he travels to South Korea eight times, giving duo concerts with the Rotterdam trained but Seoul based singer Bu Young Lee. Van Bavel also regularly plays with other Korean musicians during these trips. With drummer Hong Gie Kim he even records a CD. Kim comes over to the studio in Zeist owned by Marius Beets, who assists the pianist and the drummer on bass.

Eric Ineke Marius Beets Rik Mol

Discography Rob van Bavel

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 van Bavel

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