Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beets Brothers - In The Beginning

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Marius Beets [pronounced “Bates”] is one of three brothers, all of whom are prominent players on the Dutch Jazz scene.

Brother Peter is a remarkably gifted pianist who reflects the influence of Oscar Peterson in his playing both with his own trio and as a member of the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw.

Alexander Beets is a big-toned, straight-ahead tenor player who performs with a number of small groups as well as with The Beets Brothers Powerhouse Big Band.

It was in the latter context that I first heard Marius on a The Netherlands based Maxanter CD entitled Marius Beets and the Powerhouse Big Band Vol. 1 75232.

Drummer Eric Ineke whose association with Marius dates back over a quarter of a century had these observations about Marius in his autobiography The Ultimate Sideman:


“The oldest and wisest one of the illustrious Beets Brothers. I knew Marius since he was a student at the Royal Conservatoire and he developed as one of the best bass players around. When Koos Serierse left the Rein de Graaff Trio in 1999, it was already obvious that Marius would take his place. He was subbing before on a few occasions and when Rein called me to talk about Koos successor, Marius was first choice to both of us. At the same time it offered him a great opportunity to work with all these famous jazz legends.

An important moment and an eye opener for him was when Rein brought the eminent James Moody over to tour with us. Moody took a liking to Marius playing and he got to explain some interesting stuff about scales, etc. Marius was very keen to learn and before the sound check, they really got going, even after the concert they went on. It also showed the enthusiasm and generosity of Moody and now Marius is doing the same for [tenor saxophonist] Sjoerd Dijkhuizen. This also shows his personality, he wants to share his knowledge and pass it on. He is a very social guy and is always willing to put his energy in a project. A great example is that when 1 started my group the JazzXpress and asked him to take the bass position, he immediately started writing some great tunes which also determined the sound of the band.

He is a great swinging bass player in the best tradition of Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Sam Jones and Ron Carter. When I play with Marius its clock time from the first note on! You can say that we are a real rhythm section. I always announce
him as the 'Mercedes-Benz' of the bass and that's aptly titled because he collects them. We are also part of Lieb's trio [saxophonist Dave Liebman] when he comes over to Holland and Marius is the perfect bass player for such a setting, a real anchor and also a great soloist.

Besides all of this he is an excellent recording engineer. He knows how to clean up stuff and he saved many musicians' career including his own and mine!”

And from the same source, here’s Eric take on pianist Peter Beets.


“One of the younger seasoned stars on piano and one who keeps the Jazz tradition alive is Marius Beets' younger brother. He is bursting with talent and watch out when he grabs the bass or sits behind the drums. Frans Elsen (his teacher) once said: 'One day Peter will drown in his own talent.' He comes out of the Oscar Peterson tradition, but lately also more Be-bop and more modern influences are seeping through. He has incredible technique, fantastic time and he swings like mad. He wants to sit real close to the drums and he insists on the Oscar Peterson setup, that means piano on the left site, with the double bass in between the piano and drums very close on the hi-hat side. His timing is so in the pocket that there is only one way and that's his way. He can make every non-swinging drummer sound good. Because we are both working in different scenes we never had a chance to play a lot with each other, although when we bumped into each other in one of the clubs in The Hague, we always spoke about it. Finally it happened when I was asked to do a theater tour with the Beets Brothers and Piet Noordijk in 2009. The third brother was Alexander Beets, a fine tenor player in the Stanley Turrentine tradition and a clever business man. That tour was fun and we had a ball and Peter and I had some great moments together, especially when we got into the cross rhythms (McCoy); we would just go and see where we would finish! Most of the time we were cool. That was great fun. That same year we also recorded an album with Ronnie Cuber which came off very nicely.

As a person Peter is a very nice cat who is always a big stimulator for the upcoming young musicians in that very dangerous Jazz scene in The Hague (the best Be-bop scene in the country).

You will always catch him late at night in some club playing piano, bass or drums until the wee small hours of the morning, when nobody could play anymore, he goes on... and many a student gets a lesson for the rest of his or her life.”

The Beets Brothers initial recording - Beets Brothers: A World Class Jazz Act - was issued on Maxanter Records [CD 26666] and you can locate order information

The site also contains more information about each of the Beets Brothers as well as annotations about other Maxanter recording artists.

Here are the insert notes from the maiden voyage CD which will provide you with still more information on the Beets Brothers - In the Beginning.

The Beets Brothers" is a Jazz-Quartet from Groenlo. a small town in the east of The Netherlands. Their music can be best described as Jazz from the Sixties.

Their first performance was in 1983 and in 1985 they were discovered at the Jazz-Festival in Doetinchem. In the same year they played in various radio programmes i.e. "Fur Elise". "Akkoord" and "Duyskotheek". Also in 1985 pianist Peter Beets appeared together with the famous pianist Pim Jacobs on television.

In 1987 the Beets Brothers were second best at the N.O.S. Jazz-Festival as well as the Polaroid Jazz-Festival in Enschede. A year later Peter Beets earned 10.000 guilders [about .56 cents to the US $1.00], winning the most important Dutch Jazz contest, 'The Pall Mall Export Swing Award" in a completely sold out [concert hall] "Concertgebouw" in Amsterdam. Much attention was paid to this victory by both the daily papers (i.e. "De Telegraaf) and Magazines (i.e. "Jazz Nu" and "Man"). The quartet performed in several television programmes like TV3". "Reiziger in Muziek" and "Studio Rembrandt".

Throughout the years the Beets Brothers were regular guests in various radio-programmes, recently "Dubbellisjes". "Veronica's Trend" and twice in "TROS Sesjun"[Dutch PBS radio show that aired from 1973-2004] In 1989 pianist Peter Beets won the "Edith Stein" concours [now the Princess Christina Concours which offers monetary prizes and additional coaching for winners in classical music, composing and Jazz]  in The Hague and as a result was invited to make recordings at the BBC studio's in London. This was the first of many invitations from abroad including those from Spain, Belgium, France and Germany.

Their success continued in the Netherlands winning the "Rein Gieling Trophy" for the most original and promising band. They played together with the famous Dutch pianist Louis van Dijk and in 1990 and 1991 performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague.

Here’s what the press has written about the Beets Brothers?

"The Beets Brothers show what swing is all about" (Telegraaf)

"You can barely think of a group of musicians, better tuned into one another than these three brothers and their drummer" (Tubantia)

"What the Beets Brothers bring is absolutely fantastic. Every performance shows their great musical talents" (Gelderlander)

"This is one of the most refreshing Dutch jazz-combo's I have heard in years" (Nieuwsblad van het Noorden)

"Un concert de jazz de grande qualite" (Nice Matin)

The following audio-only sampling of Peter Beets’ original composition Thirteen Ain’t Too Much forms the lead track to their Beets Brothers: A World Class Jazz Act CD.

In January of 2001, the Beets Brothers Orchestra performed at Nick Vollebregt’s Jazzcafe’ in Laren, The Netherlands and the following video features the band playing Marius Beets’ original composition “Tubbs” from that performance.

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