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Dutch Swing College Band shuts down The Hague jazz venue

‘North Sea' to continue in Rotterdam

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - The famed Dutch Swing College Band (DSC) formed in 1945, was the last group to perform at the recent 30th annual edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival. It was ’curtains’ too for the venue after the last strands of music by the DSC Band faded away. All those years, the festival had been held at The Hague’s Congress Hall.

For its 31st edition next year, the North Sea Jazz Festival moves to Rotterdam. Lack of space and other commercial considerations forced the move to its new summer home at the Ahoy' Hall.

Over the past 30 years, the festival gave many of the up-and-coming jazz greats from the Netherlands, Europe and the Americas a platform, helping to them gain a broader following. The Dutch music fest also was a venue for young performers who often went on to wider recognition. One of these, 21-year old Peter Cincotti, amazed the audience with his closing evening performance this year.

The Dutch Swing College Band of amateur as well as student musicians – Peter Schilperoort, Frans Vink, Hennie Frohwein and Tonny Nüsser - had its first public performance on May 5, 1945, Liberation Day in the Netherlands. Initially, DSC was led by Vink, who in 1946 passed the baton to Schilperoort. Pianist Joop Schrier took over in 1955, with Schilperoort returning as leader five years later when the band turned professional. He led the DSC until his death in 1990. From early on, the band presented a highly individual structured New Orleans revival style, as brought to stages throughout the world during DSC’s many foreign tours. In the 1980s, DSC also performed at the 25th anniversary of the Netherlands Businessmen’s Association in Vancouver, Canada.

Currently, the DSC Band is directed by Bob Kaper. The bands now rates as Europe’s oldest established traditional jazz band and has performed at festivals and during concert tours on five continents. DSC’s other members are George and Frits Kaatee, Bert de Kort, Marcel Hendricks, Tony van Bergeijk, Han Brink and Adrie Braat.

Some of DSC’s personnel from the 1950s and 1960s include Wybe Buma, Oscar Klein, Wim Kolstee, Dick and Ray Kaart, Jan Morks, Dim Kesber, Arie Ligthart, Bob van Oven, Martien Beenen en André Westendorp, and of course Joop Schrier and Peter Schilperoort.

DSC performed at almost every North Sea Jazz Festival and likely will play the 2006 edition as well. The band - with its famous introduction piece ‘Way Down Yonder in New Orleans – recently released a compilation DVD ‘The Story: 60 Years.’ It contains a music documentary spanning the entire era and touches on such subjects as the five years without Peter Schilperoort, the professional era which began in 1960, various personnel changes and some of the well-known guest players.

In 1990, DSC was honoured with the Dutch Export Award.

The final The Hague edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival during its three-day run played to a sell-out crowd of 70,000. Veteran Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer in one of his last concerts before he died, was the featured performer at the Festival’s official opening.