I now love and enjoy being a professional jazz man and exploring this playful ‘Shoo-bi-do-bi-doo, Da-di-ditty-di-ditty-da’ flow way of life, jamming with both the 'blues' and the 'swing' of life - upbeats and downbeats. I’ve developed a strong a fascination for that which can creatively emerge when different players open up, connect and start jamming together without a score - or a very limited one - but with a tacit structure and intention that leads them and a connection that unites them.
Music has been a constant underlying generative force and powerful compass for which I am sincerely grateful. Music has filled my life with inspiration and has brought me to many places in the world. From the most intimate jazz clubs to the largest concert halls. From playing in the streets to performing for kings, queens and presidents in their palaces.
Music has shown me how to balance the score with the core - the precomposed orchestrated with the heartfelt intuitive emergent. It has given me fresh perspectives on how to balance the dynamics and rules of orchestration, composition and music-making with the open and fluid art of pure instant improvisation and jamming.
The journey through music-land has allowed me to spark connecting conversations with many creative people world-wide, utilising the universal language of music, a heartfelt language that, to me, seems to transcends the dualistic dynamics of the written and spoken language. I am lucky to have been able to connect and co-create with such a large family of musicians, peers and fellow craftsmen all over the world.
Music is - and always has been - a great teacher for me. Similar to how water cannot be caught in a fishing net it has been impossible for me to get a grip on the magic of sound. It is like sweetness in sugar that cannot be caught under the microscope but can only be tasted and experienced. Jazz music also points at this intangible side of life. The jazziness of life. The messiness of life. The unpredictable and the emergent. The jazz of getting lost in the middel of nowhere. But it also proved to be quite possible to keep looking and listening with an open mind and heart and catch some hidden patterns and grooves. Those ones that cannot be taught but can be caught when ready. And in that way music never ceases to inspire and guide me on this Lifelong Learning journey. There’s always something new and unexplored.
Music has provided me with the alternative open space in which I was allowed to communicate creatively beyond the limits of written and spoken language. To me, music isn't just another form of language. Language is a form of music. It is socially organised sound. Music allowed me to be still and present in the stillness between the notes and rest there. It has invited me to listen and connect with the heart. Being a seeker flirting with meditation for the last 25 years these are attractive energetic aspects of music to me. Jazz always encouraged me to keep ‘playing’. And it showed me that the important focus with sincere playing in one’s life and work is that one needs to be engaging with the art of playing all the time and never stop. Because life, like clay, gets hard, un-flexible and over-solidified when we stop playing. Continuous play keeps my life fluid and flowing in its creativity and explorative quality. Music constantly invites us to enjoy the free-fall feeling of sincere playing instead of focussing to hard to get to the end of the song.
Music keeps pointing at the fact that music sounds better when we step out of the way and let it unfold the way it wants to. No need to waste energy in trying to make or manipulate it into something else. Music gently showed me that for a long time there was a bit of a sweet ignorance and arrogance to think there is a ‘conductor’ in me that 'has' an creative experience, with the need to interpret that experience, conceptualise it, name it, categorise it and give it meaning together with others in socially constructed forms through communication. But music just is. Very simple, direct, spontaneous, natural and touching. And music never ceases to point at that. Music gave me the alternatives routes and trajectories, from the separated dualistic linear to the interconnected and holistic. From the parts to the whole and back. From the temporal to the spacial. From the conceptual to the immediacy, simpleness, naturalness, directness and spontaneousness of life that sound and rhythm seem to point at all the time.
Music provides me today with an inspiring hybrid career. I am currently active both as a jazz music performer, recording artist, composer and educator, as well as a corporate leadership developer. I perform with various ensembles in diverse places and contexts and I facilitate learning and development in numerous companies and organisations in the corporate domain. I teach at several music conservatories in The Netherlands (Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, HKU Utrecht and Royal Conservatory in The Hague). And more and more I coach students and professionals one to one in aligning their reality with their objectives and ambitions. Apparently.