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. Jorrit works as a composer and is a Professor at Berklee College of Music and a faculty member of the New England Conservatory in Boston.

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Dijkstra’s projects include Boston groups such as his quintet Cutout, quartet BOLT, The Porch Trio, and the large ensemble Bathysphere. His duos with drummer/composer John Hollenbeck (with guest pianist Benoît Delbecq on their latest recording) and trombonist Jeb Bishop and long-standing collaborations. Dijkstra’s sextet The Whammies play the Music of Steve Lacy was founded with a core group of Boston improvisers plus Dutch drum legend Han Bennink and violinist Mary Oliver, to explore the repertoire of the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. This project has led to three CD releases and several European and North American tours.

 

In his solo project, he incorporates an array of electronic effects to process his saxophone improvisations live on stage. Dijkstra’s use of analog electronics – including the Lyricon, a vintage electronic wind instrument from the seventies – extends his already flexible saxophone style into an idiosyncratic mix of cool jazz, free improvisation, and electronic minimalism.

 

Jorrit’s work as a composer balances between similar stylistic boundaries. Commissioned by the North Sea Jazz Festival 2009, Pillow Circles brings together eight top improvisers in a mesmerizing sound world filled with indie guitar-rock and free jazz influences. His ongoing project Music for Reeds and Electronics explores the sonic possibilities of reed and electronics players in different improvisation communities in North America and Europe. Dijkstra has received other commissions from the David Kweksilber Big Band, Tetzepi Big Band, Amstel Saxophone Quartet, Kaida Duo, Duo X, The Harvard Jazz Band, electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans, saxophonist Ties Mellema, and bass clarinetist Fie Schouten. His commissioned works often incorporate electronic soundtracks and various forms of improvisation. Dijkstra’s work has won him a Fulbright grant and the prestigious Podium Prize for jazz musicians in the Netherlands.

 

Jorrit has released twenty CDs as a leader, and 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. He studied improvisation and composition with Misha Mengelberg, Steve Coleman, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Hyla. He is co-founder of the artist-run label Driff Records.

 

Jorrit is a Professor at Berklee College of Music and a faculty member of the New England Conservatory in Boston.

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