Joris Roelofs
Introducing Joris Roelofs

Material Records
Recorded September 8th and 9th 2007, Peter Karl Studio, Brooklyn, New York
Release date: September 28th 2008

Not yet 25, Netherlander Joris Roelofs has produced an album for the Material Records label that should propel him on to widespread recognition. Released so far in Japan and available on import, "Introducing ……" deserves a US / Europe mainstream release if that more widespread recongnition is to be realized.

Teaming up in a tight and experienced quartet - Joris Roelofs (alto saxophone and clarinet), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums) – the approach is strong mainstream jazz with the emphasis on creative flair rather than any more obvious innovation for its own sake. The result is not just a breakthrough album but lasting music of great depth and maturity.

Joris Roelofs started to play classical clarinet at the age of six and took up alto saxophone at the age of twelve. He was a member of the Vienna Art Orchestra from 2005 to 2008 and is lead alto in the Netherlands Jazz Orchestra Of The Concertgebouw. He graduated in 2007 as a Master of Music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In 2003 he came to the States on an IAJE Stan Getz/Clifford Brown Fellowship Award, gaining experience by playing with Ari Hoenig, Eric Harland, Aaron Goldberg, Lewis Nash, Matt Penman, Johannes Weidenm, John Marshall, Gary Smulyan, Ralph Peterson, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Pete King, Sonny Fortune, Laura Fygi, Christina Branco and Alegre Correa amongst others. The understanding in the partnership with Aaron Goldberg, Matt Penman and Ari Hoenig which is at the heart of the success of this album is firmly based on that earlier experience.

There are three standards – "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (Styne / Kahn), "Sweet & Lovely" (Gus Arnheim) and "Skylark" (Hoagy Carmichael) that are handled beautifully. There is also a version of Dave Holland's "Four Winds" taken as a duet between alto sax and drums that really sparkles. The remaining self composed material shows a range of colour and texture – from the beauty of "Francisca" to the funk of "Dooie Hoek" and the impressionism of "3/4 Space" (all played on clarinet) to the upfront bop of "Background Music", the Mehldau-like "The Rules" and the sophisticated "Beter!" (all played on alto sax) – that is the sure mark of a real talent.

The support from Aaron Goldberg (give or take a few annoying Jarrett-type off pitch grunts that the mic has picked up) is substantial with great solos, unison playing and accompaniment. Likewise, Matt Penman on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums form an ideal rhythm platform.

This one of the best jazz albums of 2008 and deserves a much wider audience. Well worth checking out in 2009.