Pierre Courbois

Pierre Courbois was born in Nijmegen on April 23, 1940. He is the son of a watchmaker, and a jeweller. They were both members of a film orchestra before World War II. He is a graduate of the Hogeschool der Kunsten in Arnhem as a goldsmith. Courbois’ technical, practical profession is what explains Courbois later innovations and adaptations to his drum kit. These include the retunable floortoms, double bass drum, and gong pedals. He and his brother Jacques launched a craze by building a complete drum kit of transparent Perspex in the early Seventies. This instrument is still a favorite to this day. Pierre takes evening courses in electronics at different polytechnic schools during high school. This is where he got the idea for his later inventions with drum synthesizers. Courbois makes his first steps into the world of music in 1953 when he creates a melody. This melody will not be available on CD until 2007. REVOCATION, February 1953. Pierre’s first instruments are not the drums but the banjo, guitar, and piano. One of his first professional experiences is with Boy Raaijmakers (a fellow Nijmegen citizen), with whom he plays in Dixieland, Dance bands even across the German border. He leaves the art school in 1963 to work as a sideman at The Blue Note jazz club, along with many jazz legends like George Arvanitas and Kenny Drew, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stan Getz, Johnny Griffin, Rene Thomas, and Jean-Luc Ponty. A second reason Courbois must be in Paris is Kenny Clarke the drumming bebop innovator, who teaches Courbois all aspects of jazz drumming. Courbois still uses Clarke’s brushes technique to his advantage. He is probably the only Dutch musician to have ever played in The Blue Note club for more than a year. Courbois is one of the first Europeans to experiment with free improvisation, or free jazz. He is the founder and drummer of the Original Dutch Free Jazz Quartet in 1961. The group is heard in a live broadcast from Michiel de Ruyter, Aad Bos and others shortly after its formation. This may be the first instance of free improvisation in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the recordings were lost. Courbois is where Boy Raaijmakers, trumpeter, meets Willem Breuker, reed player. He plays with Louis van Dijk, Carl Schulze and Arend Neijenhuis in a group that was influenced by the Modern Jazz Quartet. This group performs during the first broadcasts of Dutch colour television from Philips [PH.E.T]. Courbois also acts as a substitute drummer for Theo Loevendie. The Free Music Quartet, which performs as a quintet with Erwin Somer, is formed around 1965. In 1968, ESP Disk’ releases an LP featuring this five-man lineup. This period saw more records, often free jazz-like experimental music, released on small, obscure labels that were later forgotten or with musicians who are long gone. Collaborations with Gunter Hampel, Ramses Shaffy and Willem Breuker are some of the most well-known records from that period. He was also part of the Peter Brotzmann Trio, which included Peter Kowald as double bass. Pierre Courbois is a bandleader since the Sixties, but he also plays a significant role as an accompanist. Courbois brings a modern sound to his bands even before Eric Ineke takes over as Rein deGraaff’s regular drummer. However, the Sixties spirit does not allow for anyone to create ‘innovative’ experimental music. Courbois’ collaboration with Mal Waldron and JR Monterose, Inge Bandenburg, the Reinde Graaff/Dick Vinnik Quartet, and the European Jazz Quintet is still not getting the recognition it deserves. Courbois does, however, distance himself from Dutch improvised musical music at times. He claims that he was influenced by Kitty, his sister-actress: he found the Amsterdam improvisers scene’s theatrical aspects to be amateurish and subpar. Courbois continues to push his musical boundaries. He was the founder of Association PC in 1969, one of the first European rock or fusion bands. The Dutch-German group tours the globe and won, among other awards the American Down Beat Poll. The group’s international reach is enhanced by the departure of Jasper van ‘t Haoff, the keyboard player. Courbois, who is the last Dutch member of the group, was joined by Joachim Kuhn and Toto Blanke in 1974. Sigi Busch (Jeremy Steig), Karl-Heiz Wiberny Sigi Kessler, Jeremy Steig and Harald Konietzko are also present. Electronic additions to his drum set fascinate Courbois more and more. He performs solo “electronically”, using synthesizer-like effects, analogue equipment that he has designed and built himself. Courbois performed nearly five hundred shows a day between 1976 and 1982 for the Dutch educational Stichting Schoolconcert. He is a ‘raconteur,’ talking about jazz and percussion in nearly every Dutch high school. Sometimes, it can be as many as three times per day [!].. Courbois also experiments for many years with Improvised Minimal Music, a new genre that he created with Polo de Haas. Sadly, quality recordings are not available because all media today have ignored this unique initiative. Courbois receives a ‘carte blanche” from VARA Radio Centraal in 1977. For a unique, memorable project, Courbois invites Gary Peacock, bassist, to join him. The recordings are preserved in the vaults Dutch public broadcasting. The name New Association was created in 1980 after the legend Association PC disintegrates in the mid-Seventies. This acoustic group existed until 1992. Courbois returned to acoustic music in the early Eighties, despite the unusual lineup of vibraphone, double basse, drums, and violin. Also, the drum kit equipped with electronic devices is permanently tossed out. Courbois is a member of groups such as Brevis and Compass around this time. He is a member the Frans Vermeerssen transatlantic sextet, and a quartet of Frank Grasso, Willem Kuhne, and the very young bass player Hein Van der Geijn. He also hosts a weekly radio broadcast of live jazz radio, nationally for VPRO Radio: Met Pierre Op Locatie. [‘On Location With Pierre, later called ‘Down Beat.’] These musical innovations are not all overlooked. De Volkskrant named Courbois jazz musician of the Year in 1984. He is voted for by the public and he emphasizes that Courbois (with Miles Davis) is an artist who continues to develop after their 40th year. Courbois has been performing with his own quintet since 1992, which plays exclusively his original compositions for the first time ever in his career. Courbois says there are currently four CDs of original music and enough material to make two or three more albums. The Pierre Courbois Quintet’s unique secret lies in its singular compositions and their many odd time signatures. Courbois is known for his brush-style with brushes. The young soloists feel called upon to contribute in this context. Famous Lions such as Eric Vloeimans and Ilja Reijngoud, Maarten ornstein, Jasper Blom, and Maarten Ornstein, were exposed to Pierre Courbois’ melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically fascinating music at an early stage in their careers. Monthly Jazz Nu names “Reouverture” the best Dutch jazz album 1994. Courbois is awarded the Bird Award by a unanimous jury at the 1994 North Sea Jazz Festival. It is named after Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker jazz great. Prasadiyanto, an Indonesian composer, wrote a piece for drumkit and gamelan orchestra called WASANA. Pierre was the featured soloist. Tribute To Cees Cee was a project of the all-drummers band B-C-D–E (Bennink Courbois Duijnhoven Engels), which took place around the Dutch millennium transition. The 2008 VPRO/Boy Edgar Awards concert saw this quartet briefly reunited. You can see this on Youtube. A ‘double quintet” is formed in 1999. It consists of the Pierre Courbois regular Quintet, along with reed players Leo van Oostrom and Paul van Kemenade as well as Jasper Blom, Jan Menu, Maarten Ornstein, Jasper Blom, Jasper Blom, Jasper Blom, and Paul van Kemenade. Jan Wessels and Loek Dikker, Paul Stocker (or Niko Langenhuijsen), Egon Kracht, Willem Breuker, Martin Fondse, arrange them to perform rich Courbois adaptations. Courbois is made Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau in 2000. He concludes his tour at the North Sea Jazz Festival with the Double Quintet, which celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Pierre Courbois Quintet is dissolved and the Double Quintet remains. This group was formed to be the latest important group around the individualistic drummer at the end of 2003. The ‘Five-Four-Sextet plays Courbois music only in this time signature, blues to calypso. Again, musicians find inspiration in the strange musical ideas that allow them to fit their improvisations. The five-fourth time is a rare feature in jazz, and often the listeners are unaware of it. The three-day event that Courbois organized in Leiden at the end 2007 was a highlight of his career. Courbois is reunited with pianists Polo de Haas u0026 Loek Dikker. He returns to jazz rock for a brief time with his son Barend, on bass guitar, and his old friend Jasper van Hoff on keys. The Five-Four-Sextet is also a part of the show. Pierre Courbois and this group will once more take Dutch jazz venues by storm. They’ll be joined by Holland’s top trumpet player Toon de Gouw and Ilja Reijngoud. Jasper Blom is a unique tenor player and musical anchor on double basse Niko Langenhuijsen. Willem Kuhne, Courbois’ prop, will also play. Pierre is politically active. He was a member of the “Commissie Cultuur Gemeente Arnhem” for the Socialist Party (SP). He composed and performed the election song Big Party live and on CD. He also wrote articles about percussion for Music Maker, which he did for twelve years. Many music magazines have published reviews on gramophone records, cd’s and other topics. Courbois was a member of many music college juries and continues to act as a judge at jazz concourses.nu003cbr/u003enfrom http://www.pierrecourbois.nl

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