Pianist and composer Jasper van ‘t Hof wins Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2018

The Buma Boy Edgar Prize, the most prestigious award for jazz and improvised music in the Netherlands, has been awarded to the pianist, keyboard player and composer Jasper van ’t Hof (Enschede, 1947). The news was announced 29 June 2018 at inJazz, the jazz network and showcase event in Rotterdam. As part of the award, van ‘t Hof will curate a concert evening at the BIMHUIS on 6 December 2018. During the occasion, he will be presented with the award, which consists of a cash prize of €12,500 and a sculpture by Jan Wolkers.

Jasper van ’t Hof (1947) is a pianist and composer. He is widely known for his virtuosic technique on the keyboard, and is one of the most active jazz musicians in Europe. His natural curiosity has seen him become one of the leading innovators in the European jazz scene, on both grand and electric piano, as well as on the synthesizer and church organ. It also enabled him to eschew the restrictions of a single style, allowing him to roam freely between bebop, free jazz, groove, jazz-rock, fusion, pop and world music. He’s been named best jazz pianist in Europe by international jazz magazines on several occasions, and has more than five hundred compositions and almost eighty recordings to his name.

Van ’t Hof taught himself to play, and found international fame at the age of 20 with Pierre Courbois’ jazz-rock group Association P.C. He made such an impression that he was invited to play with musicians such as Archie Shepp and join the pool of leading European pianists known as the Piano Conclave (which included such jazz notables as George Grüntz and Keith Jarrett). His collaborations with Charlie Mariano led to the formation of the group Pork Pie, which also included the guitarist Philip Catherine, the drummer Aldo Romano and the double bass player Jean-François Jenny Clark, and the band played to packed houses across Europe. His pioneering spirit led to his innovative fusion of western jazz and African music in the 1980s. Pili Pili, the band that provided the vehicle for this fusion, won him great acclaim for decades, and provided a platform for emerging talent. Jasper van ’t Hof’s schedule as a solo and ensemble performer remains as full as ever, with appearances abroad and, increasingly, right here in the Netherlands.

Excerpts from the jury’s report:
“Jasper van ’t Hof receives the award in recognition of his impressive oeuvre, stemming from a fifty-year career as a performing artist. For decades, whether playing piano, synthesizer or any other form of keyboard, van ’t Hof has continually revealed himself to be the perfect embodiment of the genre-transcending performer and composer.”

“While he has always welcomed collaboration, van ’t Hof is also a superb soloist, something he has long demonstrated not only on the piano and synthesizer, but also on the church organ.” “He was also one of the first major European jazz musicians to recognise the improvisational merits of the synthesizer.”

“Much of Jasper van ’t Hof’s activity has long been conducted abroad. Our eastern neighbours, in particular, were quick to recognize his significance, as well as his uncommonly powerful stage presence.”
“Van ’t Hof has roamed freely between a wide variety of styles, ranging from freebop to jazz-rock, free jazz and fusion, and refuses to be hemmed in even today, more than fifty years after he first took to the stage.”

“Of the roughly eighty recordings to his name, it was those with Pili Pili that brought him the most international success. Van ’t Hof formed the band in the early eighties as a vehicle for expressing his love for African music through jazz, particular the rhythms inherent in music from the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

“He maintains a lively interest in the explorations of the younger generation of jazz musicians, which has recently yielded some wonderful albums, such as No Hard Shoulder (2016), which he recorded with Dick de Graaf (sax), Stefan Lievestro (double bass) and Jamie Peet (drums), who make up the rest of his quartet (‘¼tet’).” “While some might consider Jasper van ‘t Hof a name from the past, … he is in fact more involved in developments in jazz today than ever before.”

The Buma Boy Edgar Prize 2018 jury consists of: 
Marcel Kranendonk, chairperson (music consultant, producer and coach, Utrecht)
Gijsbert Kamer, secretary (music journalist, de Volkskrant)
Eddy Geerts (music programmer for De Machinist and DJ, Rotterdam)
Herman te Loo (freelance journalist and music programmer for Jazz Inverdan, Zaandam)

The history of the award
The Buma Boy Edgar Prize is awarded each year to a musician who has long distinguished himself or herself creatively, and in so doing makes, or has made, a valuable contribution to the Dutch jazz and improvised music scene.

The award ceremony and its affiliated concert evening is organised by the Boy Edgar Prize Foundation in collaboration with the BIMHUIS.

The award was originally initiated in 1963 under the name the Wessel Ilcken Prize, was renamed the Boy Edgar Prize in 1980, and the VPRO Boy Edgar Prize in 1992. It became the Buma Boy Edgar Prize in 2014. Recent winners include Martin Fondse (2017), Wilbert de Joode (2016), Tineke Postma (2015), Jeroen van Vliet (2014) and Oene van Geel (2013).

The Buma Boy Edgar Prize is brought to you by the main sponsor Buma Cultuur with support from Sena Performers, BIMHUIS and North Sea Jazz. Media partner VPRO Vrije Geluiden (VPRO Free Sounds) will cover the concert evening and award ceremony on national public radio station NPO Soul & Jazz and www.vrijegeluiden.nl.

More information about the award, for Jasper van ‘t Hof’s biography and photographs, the jury’s full report and a list of past winners, you can find elsewhere on this website and also in this PRESSKIT.

For further information and interview requests, please contact: Anneke Moors, project coordinator of the Buma Boy Edgar Prize, info@boyedgarprijs.nl / t. + 31 (0)6 28 43 55 42.