Back in Groningen

Since I moved back to Groningen at the end of January I’ve been very busy. I became the assistant of classical composer Arnold Veeman, who practically lives in the North Sea and there writes beautiful music. I support him by engraving his music, checking chord progressions, etc. As a big band composer and arranger this experience is very valuable to me, because the work I do really opens up my ears to different sounds then I’m used to.

In addition to the work I do for Arnold Veeman, I restarted my funk/soul band Rob Spelberg’s Great Groove, featuring a fine selection of musicians from the North of Holland. Last week we played a first concert at Jazzcafé de Spieghel in the centre of Groningen. It was great fun to play and I’m looking forward to our next gig! Now starts the task of finding those gigs for the band.

I also started to help out the big band of the Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, since they’re short of trombone players. It’s nice to meet the guys that are studying now and to see their talents and how they develop it. The band is a learning orchestra, so we play mostly swing classics: it’s fun to play songs such as Moten Swing and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes again after so many years, that’s just incredible music!

Through the conservatory big band I got a gig playing a musical project organized by the Dance Academies of Groningen, Amsterdam and Göteborg and the Prince Claus Conservatory. The band was a combination of classical and jazz musicians, and we reached a high level of music in a very short period of time. I learned a lot about phrasing and sound from playing with classical horn players. All in all a great week, finished with two spectacular concerts last Friday: those musical students are really multi-talented!

Now it’s again looking to the future, I have various projects on my mind and it will be interesting to see how they will work out!

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