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Tonny Nüsser


28-08-1923 - 16-09-2016


drums, entertainment, jazz


Portret op Jazzhelden.nl

Tonny Nüsser

Tonny Nüsser (Rotterdam, 28 August 1923) is largely self-taught. Although he is instructed in the rudiments during the war years, he develops the style with which he gains his reputation in the fifties himself. His great idol is originally Gene Krupa, the drummer of the Benny Goodman Quartet, which ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1956   Rob Pronk (1)

Biography Tonny Nüsser

Tonny Nüsser (Rotterdam, 28 August 1923) is largely self-taught. Although he is instructed in the rudiments during the war years, he develops the style with which he gains his reputation in the fifties himself. His great idol is originally Gene Krupa, the drummer of the Benny Goodman Quartet, which peaks in popularity in the thirties. Krupa inspires him to learn the American technique of drumming. By applying this modern drum style he becomes an in demand musician. It makes him the most important percussionist of the early post-war years. This shows from his participation in the 1953 Jazz At The Kurhaus, a series of jam sessions, initiated by Paul Acket and presented by Pete Felleman, presenting the cream of the Dutch jazz world. Part of the music was recorded for posterity. In 1954 Nüsser wins the readers' poll of Rhythme magazine, another example of his great class.

Played in

Atlantic Quintet   drums
Dutch Swing College Band   drums
Millers   drums

1945 - 1948

During the war years Tonny Nüsser can regularly be found in the circle of the Swing Papa's, at the time a renowned swing band. But his real career starts towards the end of the war, when he founds a quartet with clarinetist Peter Schilperoort, pianist Frans Vink and bassist Henny Frohwein, which will form the basis of the later Dutch Swing College Band. With an extended septet version of this band he plays for the Canadian troops in Apeldoorn for a number of months. When the band members have an argument over the band's musical direction in the course of 1946, he quits. He finds employment as a professional musician in saxophonist Aart Schol's dance band (in 1946) at the Tabaris in The Hague. He goes on to work with guitarist Peter van Houten (later internationally known as Peter Van Wood) in Carlo Carcassola's Italian band in Denmark (1947). Despite all these busy activities he has time to make a recording with trumpeter Kees van Dorsser's orchestra (1947). Then tenor saxophonist Piet van Dijk's Swingband takes him on board in 1948.

Dutch Swing College Band Peter van Houten

1949 - 1952

In 1949 Nüsser is one of the founding fathers of what is known as the first Dutch bop combo, the Atlantic Quintet. The group starts off playing all over the Netherlands for some months, but in 1950 he and saxophonist-clarinetist Arie Verhoef, bassist Henny Frohwein, guitarist Frans van Lankeren and pianist Wim Jongbloed travel to the American occupation zone in Germany. In one of the officers' clubs the combo accompanies the American singer Vic Damone. He wants to take Nüsser back to the States with him, but the drummer declines the offer for a number of reasons. The joy over the engagements soon wanes for Nüsser. Because of a mental breakdown, fed by gossip and other personal problems he leaves the music business in the early fifties and starts working in his father's textiles shop.

Atlantic Quintet Henny Frohwein

1953 - 1955

Because what's bred in the bone, will come out in the flesh, in 1954 Nüsser responds to a call by bassist Ted Powder, who is in need of a drummer. He comes stronger out of this self-imposed sabbatical, and hasn't left the scene since. In approximately 1955 he starts playing with guitarist Ab de Molenaar's Millers. Because of his drumming, which gives the band more body, he is valued enormously. Well into the seventies Nüsser continues to work on and off with the popular swing combo. We also see him playing in other groups like the Rob Pronk Sextet, the Peter Schilperoort Quartet (1957) and the Holland Sextet. With this latter combo he plays on a cruise via England and Bermuda to the United States, on board the Willem Ruys, in 1958. In New York he jams with pianist Dick Katz, bassist Norman Keenan, guitarist Joe Puma and an old pal from The Hague, who has emigrated to the US: accordionist Mat Mathews. A matinee with the same musicians in Carnegie Hall is also planned. .

Mat Mathews Millers Rob Pronk (1)

1956 - 1969

From the end of 1955 until approximately 1969 Tonny Nüsser also plays drums in the backing combo for cabaret performer Toon Hermans. Together with guitarist Robbie Pauwels, bassist Hans van Rossem and pianist Govert van Oest he makes sure Hermans sounds as swinging as possible. During the sixties other musicians, including some horn players, come in to flesh out the combo. Since the shows usually run for two years, and Hermans needs the time afterwards to come up with new material, Nüsser has ample time to take on other gigs. As mentioned before he works with the Millers, and in 1959 he plays in pianist Harry Bannink's orchestra. In between engagements with Toon Hermans during the sixties Thom Kelling's Ritmo Caliente, the Rudy Bosch Sextet and Louis van Dijk require his services. He also likes to perform with pianist Paul Ruys. Tonny Nüsser's great reputation shows from the fact that drum factory Westend, run by the De Hooge brothers in The Hague, designs a special jazz drum kit to his specifications in 1957. Many a drummer in the The Hague area profits from it. After some arguments and a labor conflict the collaboration with Toon Hermans finally ends.

Harry Bannink Toon Hermans

1970 - 1980

Other than his gigs with the Millers Tonny Nüsser doesn't have a regular job. He takes on all the work he can get. He starts playing with Joop Reynolds's trio, which backs many artists, and Kees van Doorn's band. Then there is pianist Hans Vlig's quartet, with whom he plays in Munich for a while. When the American bassist Jimmy Woode (an ex-member of the Duke Ellington band, working in the German city) needs a pianist and a drummer, he asks Hans Vlig and Tonny Nüsser. From 1971 to 1975 he plays in bassist Chris Smildiger's Swing Combo. In the early seventies he does gigs with vibraphonist Dave Pike. He also offers his services to the orchestra of the Austrian clarinetist Fatty George. Together with his fellow countryman, trumpeter Oscar Klein, the British trombonist Roy Crimmins and Hans van der Sijs (is: Hans Vlig) Tonny Nüsser plays in Fatty's Saloon, the clarinetist's club in Vienna, for nearly two months. In 1978 he writes the book Mensen Maken Muziek ('People Make Music', published by Spruyt, Van Mantgem en De Does) commissioned by the Stichting Bevordering Onderwijsmethoden (Foundation for the Improvement of Teaching Methods). An EP with musical examples accompanies the publication. Besides Tonny Nüsser himself bassist Dolf del Prado, pianist Fred Pruim, guitarist Ferry Robers, trumpeter Klaas Wit and reed player Herman Schoonderwalt can be heard on the record.

Chris Smildiger

1980 - 1995

Tonny Nüsser continues doing gigs, with the Frits Katee Quartet, the Pia Beck Trio, with violinist Frans Poptie and many, many others. He also gives a series of educational concerts. In the company of Jan Laurens Hartong (piano), Nippy Noya (bass) and Koos van der Sluis (trumpet) Tonny Nüsser teaches youngsters about jazz music. Taking his career into account he never shied away commercial work. He even worked at the circus, accompanying jugglers, clowns en acrobats. Shortly before retiring from the music world he worked with saxophonist Gijs Hendriks. A hearing impairment caused by Ménière's disease finally prevents him from continuing to play

Frans Poptie Gijs Hendriks Pia Beck

Discography Tonny Nüsser

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 Tonny Nüsser

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