He'll blow his trumpet, and your mind too

Jun 14, 2012, 07:01 IST | Ruchika Kher

Jazz lovers are in for a treat today. Dutch Jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans is back in town for a musical performance with his quartet Gatecrash. In a freewheeling chat with Ruchika Kher, the 49-year-old elaborated on his life, his passion for the trumpet and his inspirations

How and when did you get interested in trumpet playing?
When I was a little boy, I saw a TV show where another little boy was playing a sliver trumpet. It was sentimental nonsense, but I was mesmerised. I loved the shiny brass instruments that make a lot of noise. So after a while I had to choose between trumpet and trombone — and it became the trumpet.

How did Gatecrash begin?
Some time ago, I heard Miles Davis (American Jazz trumpeter) play with his fusion Jazz / Pop band and it blew me away. I thought someday I want that too. Gatecrash is my answer to that desire. About seven years ago, I found the ideal colleagues to perform this style of music — Jeroen Van Vliet on electric piano, Gulli Gudmundsson on bass guitar and Jasper Van Hulten on drums.

What can people expect from the performance? Have you planned a new or special act in your gig?
If people come to the concert with an open mind and open ears, it will be a musical journey — from the lyrical to the funky.

How different is it performing in India and performing anywhere else in the world?
India is a hot and humid place, so first up, you have to get used to the climate. Yet, the people are friendly, and the ladies are lovely to look at. The audiences we have experienced so far in India are very open and appreciative. We also played in several schools for children with special needs — it reminds me that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you play; if the music comes from the heart it, is accepted by the heart.

Have you ever heard Indian music and do you like it?
It’s fascinating. There is an Indian tabla player, Sandip Bhattacharya who lives in Holland. I have performed with him.

How have you evolved as a trumpeter in all these years? What changes have you noticed in yourself?
I began studying in the classical department of the Rotterdam Conservatory. But later, I was asked to fill in with the big band when they needed an extra trumpet. So, I got to hang out with students from the Jazz department. After a while, I decided this is the life for me. I was shy for a long time, and still am, but I’ve come to enjoy the limelight and even enjoy talking to the audience between numbers.

Since the trumpet is not such a common instrument, like a guitar or drums, do you feel the youth is able to connect with it?
Trumpet-playing requires plenty of discipline. It’s not an instrument you can pick up and master quickly. But I do know that there are many young musicians that love the trumpet as much as I do.

Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
That is a hard question because there are so many people that have inspired me and not all of them are musicians. Of course, if it’s just musicians, then Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Jon Hassell and Igor Sravinsky. It’s hard to pinpoint one. What you listen to on a regular basis and what you are exposed to can make a deep impact on your own musical awareness. My music has a broad horizon.

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