The Buma Boy Edgar Prijs is awarded each year to an artist who has long demonstrated his or her outstanding creative contribution to vitalizing the Dutch jazz and improvised scene.
The jury is keenly aware that one of Boy Edgar’s greatest qualities – he being the man after whom this prize was named – was his willingness to take bold risks by bringing together musicians of different generations with different styles and interests to create his Big Band. Boy Edgar was thus one of the founders of a unique Dutch jazz and improvisation climate that is acclaimed the world over for its diversity, defiance and unorthodox approach. This year’s winner has contributed unequivocally to this climate.
The double bass is an instrument that rarely claims centre stage, but its function as a musical anchor can be critical to the sound and musical direction of an ensemble. And despite his modesty, this year’s winner has played a crucial role in the development of improvised music in the Netherlands over the last thirty years.
The jury considers that this year’s winner, in his own wholly distinctive way, has been responsible for a broadening and deepening of the concept of “improvisation” and embodies the artistic qualities of inspiration and collaboration.
The jury is pleased to award the Buma Boy Edgar Prijs to double bass player Wilbert de Joode (1955).
De Joode’s playing is infused with a spirit of uncompromising urgency, yet it is also characterised by rigour and fragility. De Joode is self-taught – an increasingly rare phenomenon in the world of improvised music – and his independent study of music is driven by a fascination with timbre and acoustics. His sound is resonant, his pizzicatos explosive, and his bowing is rich and varied. He has an extensive vocabulary and a very good ear for the musical possibilities of a particular sound at a particular moment in a particular space. This sensitivity to the sound of the moment lends his playing a highly intuitive quality.
The jury particularly commends Wilbert de Joode on his interplay with fellow musicians, a quality so essential to freely improvised music. He is, to a greater extent than many a Dutch improviser, first and foremost a listener, and his responsiveness and musical agility are expressions of his wealth of ideas. De Joode acts simultaneously as both sponge and membrane, and in addition to his notable collaborations with Cor Fuhler and Han Bennink, Onno Govaert and Jasper Stadhouders, and Achim Kaufmann and Frank Gratkowski, he is partly responsible for shaping the sound of groups such as the Ab Baars Trio, the Eric Boeren Quartet, Bik Bent Braam, and Ig Henneman’s ensembles.
De Joode is a very active and much in-demand musician, and special mention must be made in this context of his many concerts abroad. Nevertheless, his international commitment to improvised music is not limited to musical performances. It is also reflected in his involvement in the creation of the DOEK Foundation for Improvisation, a platform for musicians that promotes national and international collaboration, experimentation and artistic research.
Wilbert de Joode has built an international following, but he has also captivated new generations of musicians with his music. They queue to study with him, to explore new possibilities in sound and musicianship. He is a shining example to young musicians, as well as a fulcrum between the pioneers of improvised music and an international community of young musicians from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests. That he maintains his egalitarian collaborative approach even when working with young musicians is laudable.
Wilbert de Joode is a creative force in a tradition that eschews tradition. His unique individual vision ensures that the accumulated work of previous generations continues to yield new expressions and paths for exploration. And in this regard, it is particularly true that in De Joode’s hands musical creativity and the results thereof are a never-ending process, never a final conclusion.
Utrecht, May 2016.
On behalf of the jury,
Ron Ruiten and Floris Schuiling
The jury of the Buma Boy Edgar Prijs 2016 consists of:
Floris Schuiling, chairman (Musicologist, Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam)
Ron Ruiten, secretary (Sound engineer, Bimhuis; board member, Zaal 100)
Ben Taffijn (Journalist, draaiomjeoren.com; editor-in-chief, nieuwenoten.nl)
Coen de Jonge (Editor-in-chief, Jazz Bulletin; editor, Jazzism)
Eddy Westveer (Board member, Porgy & Bess; photographer)
Floris Schuiling, Coen de Jonge, Eddy Westveer, Ron Ruiten, Ben Taffijn
(photo Eddy Westveer)