So how does someone ‘choose’ to become a trumpet player? Forty-nine year-old Eric Vloeimans has one point of view to offer: “When I was a little boy, I loved the shine and brightness of the brass instruments, and I liked making noise. So the trumpet was a natural!” An elusively simple romance between little Vloeimans and his bugle was galvanised in the esteemed halls of the Rotterdam Music Academy and, together, they have become a powerhouse in the world jazz music space.
Come Thursday, the tunes of the Dutchman and his electronic jazz ensemble, ‘Gatecrash’ will echo between the walls of Blue Frog in Mumbai. During his stint at the Rotterdam Academy of Music, he started off in the classical department but after meeting musicians in the jazz section, got enamored by the musical freedom they enjoyed and soon switched over.
He then left for New York in 1988 where he gained valuable real life tutelage as he performed in the bands of the legendary Fank Foster and Mercer Ellington. Since then, Vloeimans has been a notable fixture in the global jazz circuit, performing with artists around the world and across various different jazz sub genres including acoustic chamber, contemporary and classical jazz. However, with Gatecrash, Vloeimans has experimented with a completely different type of jazz altogether — electronic jazz.
Speaking about how Gatecrash was formed, Vloeimans says “When I first heard Miles Davis at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the early ’80s I was astounded and the seed of Gatecrash was planted then. Much later, I ran into some musicians who I felt could make it happen — and so it did.”
With Jeroen van Vliet on keyboards and Fender Rhodes, Gulli Gudmundsson on bass and effects, and Jasper van Hulten on drums, Gatecrash has been praised by music critics as a band that crackles with vigour, power and surprising poignancy. Surprisingly enough Vloeimans is not fazed by the seemingly daunting task of switching between so many different genres. He says “I believe all music is connected. It’s the way I am so I don’t feel I am ‘switching’, just flowing from one way of expression to another, but it’s basically all the same.”
Vloeimans has also worked on a motion picture soundtrack for a Dutch film called ‘Majesteit’ about Beatrix, Queen of Netherlands; although the movie flopped Vloeimans score was much appreciated. Speaking of his favourite film composers, Vloeimans quips “Of course any score by Ennio Morricone ! And Nino Rota! I truly enjoy their melodies and the emotions they can evoke.”
Vloeimans’ brand of music has taken him to several different parts of the world. And surprisingly enought, this will not be his first trip to India. “I was in India in November 2009 with Gatecrash — we played in New Delhi and Mumbai. But this time around we’ll also be in Chennai and Kochi, and we’re all excited! In fact I've worked in the past with tabla player Sandip Bhattacharya, which was a treat.”
“I love sharing my music with the audience. But I don’t go anywhere with expectations, it’s living and playing in the moment. That’s the exciting part, and of course hoping that I reach the people in the audience.” He adds, “I understand that India has a great movie industry with lots of music. Keep me in mind.”