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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Dutch trio surfaces in Newcastle double bill


(Press release)
Adventurous voice, guitar and percussion trio Under the Surface join the Dutch-Scottish sextet LoLanders in a double bill at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle on Sunday, June 23 for a concert that continues Jazz North East’s association with the Dutch jazz scene.
Under the Surface was formed in 2016 when the group’s vocalist, Sanne Rambags was selected by the Dutch organisation Beaux Jazz to be part of its Next Generation strand.

“The idea is that younger musicians are given carte blanche to create something with players who are already established,” says the group’s drummer, Joost Lijbaart, who might be familiar to Bebop Spoken Here readers from his work with saxophonist Yuri Honing. “Sanne chose to work with our guitarist Bram Stadhouders, who I knew a little bit, and myself, giving us three musicians from different generations, and from the minute we started to play together I felt we had something special.”
Rather than compose songs and tunes, the trio decided to create a series of musical figures to act like stations on a train journey that they reached by improvising. Sanne Rambags, who works as a more conventional singer-songwriter away from Under the Surface, selected some poems and wrote lyrics as a guide but her interpretation of these words changes with every performance.
“We used these figures as a fall back so that we had something to aim for if we needed it,” says Lijbaart. “But quite often our collective improvisations might take us somewhere else entirely and we wouldn’t actually arrive at the pre-arranged stations. It’s quite a different approach compared to what normally happens in a jazz group but it’s worked for us and it means that we never coast. We have to always keep on our toes and respond to what’s happening in the moment.”
Audiences across the world have reacted positively to the group’s spontaneous music – they’ve played concerts from Mali to Mexico, from Norway to India and from Bolivia to Lebanon – and their two albums have been enthusiastically reviewed, particularly at home in the Netherlands. Their first release, simply called Under the Surface, was nominated for an Edison Award (the Dutch equivalent of a Grammy), and the second album, Trinity, which was recorded entirely live and has just been released in the UK to coincide with their visit, was given four stars in The Scotsman. 
“Trinity, I think, shows quite a marked progression from the first one,” says Lijbaart. “It’s more confident and you can hear that we’ve played together a lot more since then.”
The group’s Newcastle gig with LoLanders will be preceded by a return visit to Eyemouth Hippodrome, just north of the border, where the trio appeared during a short Scottish tour early last year.
“We had a great time in Eyemouth,” says Lijbaart. “Everybody there made us feel very welcome.  So we’re really looking forward to going back there but also looking forward very much to creating the Under the Surface blend of atmosphere and energy for the people of Newcastle for the first time.”
Rob Adams.


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