The music of saxophonist and composer Jorrit Dijkstra (Eindhoven, Netherlands, 1966) draws from the jazz tradition in spirit and sound, but has crossed stylistic and cultural borders in order to express a strong, evolving personal vision. He spent his formative years in Amsterdam’s vibrant improvisation community playing jazz, free improvisation, and world music. Since moving to the United States in 2002, Dijkstra has deepened his affinity with the experimental forces of American music, while staying in touch with his Dutch musical roots.
Dijkstra’s recent projects include The Whammies play the Music of Steve Lacy, an all-star group with leading improvisers for the Chicago, Boston and Amsterdam, and an electro-acoustic duo with New York drummer/composer John Hollenbeck. Dijkstra’s use of analog electronics – including the Lyricon, a vintage electronic wind instrument from the seventies – extends his already flexible saxophone sound into an idiosyncratic mix of cool jazz, free improvisation, avant-rock and electronic minimalism. Dijkstra’s work as an improviser has won him a Fulbright grant and the prestigious Podium Prize for jazz musicians in the Netherlands.
Jorrit’s work as a composer balances between similar stylistic boundaries. Commissioned by the North Sea Jazz Festival 2009, Jorrit’s Pillow Circles project brings together eight top improvisers in a mesmerizing sound world filled with indie guitar-rock and free jazz influences. Dijkstra has received other commissions from the David Kweksilber Big Band, Tetzepi Big Band, Amstel Saxophone Quartet, recorder player Terri Hron, Kaida Duo, Duo X, The Harvard Jazz Band, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans. His commissioned works often incorporate electronic soundtracks and various forms of improvisation. In addition he has scored several documentary films, and composed soundtracks for theater productions.
Jorrit has released twelve CDs as a leader, and has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Rome’s Festival Controindicazioni, New York City’s The Stone, the Chicago Cultural Center, ICA Boston, BIMhuis Amsterdam, and Stadtgarten Cologne. He has worked with Tony Malaby, Gerry Hemingway, Herb Robertson, Barre Phillips, John Butcher, Willem Breuker and Han Bennink among others. He has participated in projects ranging from Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance and Guus Janssen’s opera Noach to a rare live performance of Texas outsider musician Jandek. Jorrit is co-founder of Driff Records, an independent label for “transatlantic improvised music”.
Jorrit studied improvisation and composition with Misha Mengelberg, Steve Coleman, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Hyla. He is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, and a faculty member at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He has led master classes on improvisation at many conservatories in Europe and North America.
“He takes his audiences on a quirky, energetic, captivating journey through a world of sound and emotion… Jorrit Dijkstra has already distinguished himself as a man to watch. A highly accomplished musician, he is a cerebral improviser who nevertheless plays with warmth and rhythmic excitement.” Kevin Lowenthal, The Boston Globe
“The most compelling feature are the melodies… that allow for delicious textures that sound at once modern and very nostalgic." Andrey Henkin, www.allaboutjazz.com
“Dijkstra hears the stylistic diversity within the networks that link his cohorts, and gives it space not just to breathe, but also occasionally to snort, howl and laugh riotously. Still, the music has a discernable Dutch tinge, which is alternately audacious and austere.” Bill Shoemaker, Downbeat
Discography, available through Bandcamp and www.driffrecords.com
• Music for Reeds and Electronics: Oakland, Driff Records 1403
• BOLT: Shuffle, Driff Records 1402
• The Whammies Play The Music of Steve Lacy Vol 3, Live, Driff Records 1401
• The Whammies Play The Music of Steve Lacy Vol 2,, Driff Records 1303
• Jeb Bishop + Jorrit Dijkstra: 1000 Words, Driff Records 1202
• The Whammies Play The Music of Steve Lacy, Driff Records 1201
• Jorrit Dijkstra: Pillow Circles, Clean Feed CF166
• The Flatlands Collective: Maatjes, Clean Feed CF127
• Tone Dialing: Rigop Me, Evil Rabbit 07
• The Flatlands Collective: Gnomade, Skycap 035
• Jorrit Dijkstra & John Hollenbeck: Sequence Trytone TT559-035
• Jorrit Dijkstra: 30 micro-stems, Trytone TT559-014
• Talking Pictures and Jorrit Dijkstra: Humming, Songlines 1533-2
• Trio Jorrit Dijkstra and Benoît Delbecq: European Echoes, BVHaast CD9704,
• Trio Jorrit Dijkstra and Stuart Hall: Whistle, BVHaast CD9508
• Trio Jorrit Dijkstra, Steve Argüelles, Mischa Kool, Disckus DC05
• Bite the Gnatze: Wilde Dans, Trytone TT559-020
• Sound-Lee!, Geestgronden 21
• Mosaic: Yes!, Trytone TT559-013
• Bite the Gnatze: Throw the Plates, Trytone TT559-006
• Guus Janssen Septet: Angelica Festival 1996, Pierrot Lunaire AI011
• Orkest Amsterdam Drama: Vreemd Hier, Live from Terschelling. CCC96002
• Orkest Amsterdam Drama: Drama in Concert CCC96001
• Guus Janssen / Friso Haverkamp: Noach, an Opera off Genesis, Composers Voice CV42/43
• Willem Breuker: Kees de Jongen, SKW 53343