The Big Sound of Rinus Groeneveld

The first time I heard the big sound of tenor-player Rinus Groeneveld was at the end of the seventies. My wife and I were attending a performance in a circus tent of 'Het Werktheater', an experimental Dutch theatre group. The play was more or less a parody on a circus act and to make the impression complete there was also a band in uniform playing the required music. At a certain moment the band played a funky song with a solo for the tenor-player. During this solo my wife looked at me and said: "Wow, this guy is making an impressing sound! Who is that cat?." I couldn't give her a satisfying answer because we didn't have a program and his name wasn't printed on the posters.

Years later, round 1983, we went to a club in Amsterdam where an unknown Jazz quartet was playing. When we sat down and had ordered some refreshments the band started to play and at that moment my wife pinched me while exclaiming: 'That's him! The guy from the circus band!'. She was right -as always- it was him. When we spoke to him during the break he confirmed our recollection. Yes, he was the tenor-player in the circus band. Nowadays he was trying to make a living as a Jazz musician and that wasn't easy, but he had just met an very original Hammond-organ-player and that combination might achieve success.

The last time that I heard the big sound of tenor-player Rinus Groeneveld was during a concert of Advanced Warning at the famous Orpheus Theatre in November 1997. The band, consisting of John C. Marshall(gtr), Rinus (ts), John Engels (drums, replacing Pierre van der Linden for this gig) and Herbert Noord (Hammond) gave an impressive concert for a very enthusiastic audience that wanted three encores. The next day I had an interview with Rinus in his sound-recording studio in Amsterdam.

It was a great concert yesterday

Thank you. Yeah I liked it too. We were playing very concentrated and intense. There was a good interaction and tension between the musicians.

Following Advanced Warning from time to time I have the feeling the group is still growing.

Yeah, you might be right, yes. That's something I can't say of course because I am too involved, but yes, I share feeling that we are still setting our feet on an unknown path. Certainly the interaction is still growing and the dynamics too.

Concerning your own playing, it occurs to me that your tone has becoming broader and your playing more relaxed.

That might be the influence of playing with guys like tenor-player 'Big' Jay Mc Neely and doing a lot of concerts. You quickly learn to expend your energy more carefully. When you do ten concerts in a row you can't push it to the limit every time. Still, when I am playing with guys like Herbert and the two John's I forget all the rules I have made for myself and just go for it.

Besides Advanced Warning you are playing with a lot of other musicians and you have still your own groups. You are a busy man, I would say. Does that influence your playing?

Well, to make a decent living as a Jazz musician is almost impossible. With Advanced Warning we do sometimes twenty-five concerts in a row and then sometimes two. The market in Holland and even in Europe is very small. When you have been in a club it takes sometimes three or more years before they ask you again even if they are willing to ask you back. There are so many musicians who want to play in this very limited circle of subsidised clubs. Besides Advanced Warning I play with Hans Dulfer and piano-player Piet Kuiters and further with everyone who asks me and pays me a decent price. Sometimes I feel like a musical whore but mostly it's all right. With my own groups I am more involved in the pop-scene. I started a group two years ago called 'Toom Toom' which is a seven piece band, including two female singers. We are having a reasonable success with this band and made a cd, also named 'Toom Toom'. I am now busy in my own studio to make a follow-up.

I don't think those different kinds of music have a bad influence on my playing. I developed my own style years before I became moderately popular and I like to play different kinds of music.

Plans for the future?

Well, I'll just keep on going doing the things I am busy with, and developing my capacities as a studio engineer. I am not aiming for the jackpot, I just want to play good music with the right people.

Robert Rhoden

For more information about Rinus go to: Bio Rinus Groeneveld

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