Jury Report Buma Boy Edgarprijs 2014 Jeroen van Vliet

Jury report Buma Boy Edgarprijs 2014

The Buma Boy Edgarprijs 2014 has been awarded to pianist and composer Jeroen van Vliet

The five jury members of the selection committee of the Buma Boy Edgarprijs 2014 agreed on the following elements:

* The prize is both an oeuvre and an incentive award
* The following characteristics should be applicable to the laureate:
international potential; a unique and distinctive voice in the tradition; the urge to invigorate
jazz, the ability to bridge the gaps between various groups and genres; a representative of jazz
as an open art form; an ongoing development of style and a great thirst for adventure.

Based on these requirements the jury jointly pronounced pianist and composer Jeroen van Vliet  (1965) winner of the Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2014. As befits a winner, Van Vliet doesn’t only meet the required standards, but also scores above average – and often exceptionally high – on all points.

Remarkably, Van Vliet’s victory came about slowly during the various meetings of the jury. Emerging from an almost invisible corner, neither pushed nor advocated, his named popped up more and more in an almost casual way. Eventually he was unanimously declared the most obvious winner of Holland’s most prestigious jazz prize.

In retrospect this course of events proves to mirror the qualities of the laureate very well. Both as a musician and a human being Van Vliet has proved to be a humble person. Neither his appearance, nor his music cry out for attention. But at the same time one feels his finesse, personality and unconditional surrender, conveyed in authentic stories, painted in colours all of its his own, secretly taking possession of you.

Van Vliet creates music to get lost in. He is one of the few major poets of Dutch improvised music. He is a warm-hearted person, who is never tempted to make unnecessarily complicated music, but always remains faithful to his beautiful sound. And it’s in this sound that substance, dimension and depth can be found. It’s a quality that makes Van Vliet ruthlessly credible. That, at the same time, transforms Van Vliet’s election into a tribute to a human being in its purest form, a man who, despite his non-commercial path, straightens his back and continues to follow his pure, intuitive compass, no-matter-what. In these hard times where, politically, the quality of music is measured in attendance figures, this quality comes as a relief. It’s Van Vliet’s modesty that constitutes his strength.

Next to this the laureate is a masterful pianist with skills in various fields. His touch, but especially his lyrical approach to music and sound, make him recognizable and loved. His subdued and often thoughtful playing is of an explorative nature, and free and playful at the same time. You can always feel the excitement of the moment, the love of improvisation. Whether writing for his bands, for carte blanche ensembles or composing commissioned music (including the North Sea Jazz Composition Assignment ), Van Vliet always demonstrates unbridled fantasy. Furthermore he never lacks the guts to venture into experimentation.

Van Vliet’s own musical language harbours an open mind that allows him to sound convincing in realms of classical and chamber music, ambient, free improvisation, groove, electronic music and somewhat more traditional jazz. This versatility is of great importance to the jury. Not only the mere fact that the winner has been active in all those different genres and succeeded in bridging the gaps therein, but above all that he gets this done without ever losing for a moment his characteristic face. The fact that Van Vliet has played with a wide-range of musicians never has a forced-feeling: it’s simply a logical consequence of a strong and genuine musicianship.

Van Vliet demonstrated his versatility and strong personality both in his own bands and as a sideman – amongst others with alto saxophonist Paul van Kemenade and bassist Eric van der Westen. ‘Sideman’ in parenthesis of course, because his colour, inspiration and imagination proved to be irreplaceable in the bands of both leaders. In trumpeter Eric Vloeimans’ Gatecrash, Van Vliet’s electric piano enhanced with tasty effects, plays an essential role as a lyrical and grooving force.

Also Van Vliet has frequently been a sparring partner for various singers (currently Simin Tander). And now, after a relatively quiet period, he has been busy with three exciting projects. His trio OGU – with guitarist Bram Stadhouders and drummer Etienne Nillesen –  excels in freely improvised, electronic-acoustic music. Furthermore he recently released Wait, his second solo album, a pearl of a recording brimming with unprecedented imagination. And then there is the chamber-impro quartet Estafest, Holland’s best kept secret for many years now.

In conclusion, the jury is pleased to pronounce Jeroen van Vliet winner of the Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2014. A wholehearted improvising musician of high quality in every facet. Struggling and always searching for himself and for new ways to achieve galvanizing and, more importantly, extraordinarily beautiful music.

Amsterdam, June 2014
On behalf of the jury ,
Tim Sprangers

The jury of the Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2014 consists of
Frank Bolder, Chairman (programmer North Sea Jazz Festival and LantarenVenster Rotterdam)
John Thomas, Secretary (Director, Axes Eindhoven)
Mijke van Wijk (program maker Radio6 Soul & Jazz)
Jurre Wieman (head of technique Bimhuis)
Tim Sprangers (freelance jazz journalist)