Being a musician nowadays means you have a lot of things to take care of besides just playing well. There are many side activities that are definitely part of the job and that take up a whole lot of time and energy. Being part of a team surely can speed up things. So that’s why Bob Wijnen, Cătălin Milea and I started a new collective: OFFBEAT.

Offbeat is a musicians’ collective offering a broad range of musical directions. Their goal is to spread news, knowledge, to promote their artistry, to create and expand their networking in the music field and other domains. As a team all members complement each other’s talents and compensate each other’s weaknesses.

We had our first introduction this year at the Ujazz Festival, where Cătălin and I turned a collective improvisation into a playful jazzquiz. Next April we’ll have a stand at Jazzahead where we’ll all promote our projects. But before that let’s officially launch this baby with a real

Offbeat event

To really make a festive launch, we’re organizing a mini festival on March 15th in the Amsterdam Badcuyp.

The program

The Bob Wijnen / Dezron Douglas Duo first played together last November in New York, when recording for Wijnens soon to be released album. The other musicians on that CD are by the way Peter Bernstein and Billy Drummond. You can expect a sneak peak of that repertoire!

Saxophonist and clarinettist Cătălin Milea and his Romanian Jazz Collective will be exploring the ‘song book’ of Romanian jazz, performing exclusively compositions of less known or even unknown Romanian jazz musicians. Considered subversive music during the Comunist period in Romania of the 70’s and the 80’s, ‘jazz’ was somehow a way of fighting against the regime. The legacy of this music is performed today by Romanian Jazz Collective, using a modern musical language through the group’s own arrangements.

Grand Finale will be the Unity Project: a tribute to the legendary Blue Note album of the same name (with Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Larry Young and Elvin Jones). Besides Ellister van der Molen and Bob Wijnen the striking appeances in this group are seventeen year old saxophonist Gideon Tazelaar and drummer Marcel Serierse.

March 15th  | 15.00 – 18.00 | Badcuyp | Eerste Sweelinckstraat 10 | 1073CM | Amsterdam

NYRM **** review

New York Round Midnight today. review NRC New York Round MidnightMajor newspaper NRC had a very nice review about the show I’m happy to see the press are as enthousiastic as we are ourselves! Isn’t it a great feeling to bring jazz to the theaters? NYRM is the biggest jazz production of this moment, with 11 musicians on stage and a narrator. Combining the power of word with historic film projections and an allstar line-up the production brings you back to the jazz clubs of New York in the ’50s.

Gluren bij de Buren

poster gluren bij de buren

Gluren bij de buren

December 14th several Amersfoort livingrooms open their doors for live music and together with Alexander Beets, Jan Reinen en Steve Zwanink I shall be taking part in this! When Alexander sent me the poster as a pdf I was almost shocked to have my picture so prominently featured! I guess I’ll have some expectations to live up to :)

Hope to see you all there!

Dr. Abraham Kuyperlaan 29, Amersfoort

15.15 | 16.30 | 17.30

Smalls NYC release party

I can’t wait to play with Jeremy, Jos and Matthias again!

Just a bit more than two weeks from now we’ll be hitting the North Sea Jazz Festival. I’m really excited! It’ll be a good crowd, since that very Saturday has been sold out for weeks already. Too bad for those who didn’t manage to buy their tickets on time. But I have good news for you: before we do that, we’ll play an extra show in The Hague with the same band to officially celebrate the release.

Extra concert

July 10th 2014 | 8.30pm | Bloom | Koninginnegracht 28 | Den Haag

There’ll be good quality wines, special beers, little snacks and of course a beautiful grand piano to make sure the music sounds to it’s best.

  • Ellister van der Molen – trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Jeremy Manasia – piano
  • Jos Machtel – bass
  • Matthias De Waele – drums

The amount of seats is limited, so I do advise to buy your tickets in advance.
Hope to see you there!

Radio interview Mijke & Co Live

Radio6 logoLast Friday I was at the Radio6 studio to promote my new CD “Smalls NYC” that I’ll be launching next month. I felt very happy because the radio presenter Co de Kloet – who is actually a well known producer – knows a lot about music. This made the conversation very interesting. Of course we played quite some tracks from the CD, but Co by surprised me by playing an old recording of the KC bigband directed by Bob Florence (May 20, 1932 – May 15, 2008). To prove to the listeners that this year won’t be my first performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival, he and his team had found a radio broadcast from 1997 where I play a trumpet solo on “Laura”. I can’t believe it’s that long ago!

The interview (in dutch) is approximately an hour and starts around the 34th minute.

radio6 interview

North Sea Jazz Festival

Great news!


North Sea Jazz Festival LogoOn July 12th the Ellister van der Molen Quartet will be performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Later today the complete NSJF program will be announced. I am so happy and proud to be part of it!


  • Ellister van der Molen – trumpet and flugelhorn
  • Jeremy Manasia – piano
  • Jos Machtel – bass
  • Matthias De Waele – drums
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Rick Margitza: win backstage tickets!


Triplicate plus Rick Margitza

Triplicate plus Rick Margitza

It fills us with pride and joy to announce that Triplicate is facing a great new challenge with the legendary saxophonist Rick Margitza! At the end of March he will be in Holland for a concert and workshops:

March 27 11:00 Workshop for saxophone students from the Royal Conservatory and Codarts Royal Conservatory, Juliana van Stolberglaan 1,The Hague
13:00 Workshop for all instrumentalists, Royal Conservatory, Juliana van Stolberglaan 1,The Hague
March 28 21:00 Concert Pavlov, Spui 173, The Hague entrance is €10
March 29 video shoot Royal Conservatory, Juliana van Stolberglaan 1,The Hague VIPS only

Saturday March 29 Triplicate is recording new video footage with Rick Margitza in The Hague. Although the registration is not open to the public, we do want to invite a select group of friends who are interested. Answer the following question if you want to have a look behind the scenes:

  • In which period did Rick Margitza play with Miles Davis?

You can send an email to and you might get an invitation!

Smalls in the media

Smalls NYC cover art

Smalls NYC

The first reviews of Smalls NYC are there. One of the major online jazz magazines in the Netherlands, Jazzflits praises the band’s relaxed and swinging performance and the modern approach of bebop. Rinus van der Heijden states in Jazzenzo that although the music is not revolutionary new, the level of playing is high and we all challenge each other to play exciting solos.

In the meanwhile we have been on the radio already a few times: Radio6 – Jazz in the morning, De Concertzender – Holland Jazz, Sublime FM – Dutch Jazz and several local radio stations.

Also curious how the cd sounds? You can stream the whole cd for free on the bottom of the product page and buy it if you decide you like it.

Smalls NYC in Aalsmeer: a review

Look at this nice review!

I shall try and translate:

This Saturday evening the quartet of trumpettist Ellister van der Molen played in Café Bacchus. Together with drummer Thorsten Grau and bassplayer Jos Machtel they played work by pianist Jeremy Manasia, who completes the quartet.
The visitors got a surprise of elegant themes, reminding of the sounds of the Miles Davis Quartet in the ’50s, Jeremy Manasia replaced all by himself both Cannonball Adderley and Coltrane behind the piano.
His playing is connected to that of Monk: deliberately dissonant and carefully next to the dominant tempo and by doing so of a sometimes overwhelming beauty. That makes Manasias work not only elegant, but thrilling as well, because the music is not predictable.
Ellister and her band will be playing several venues in the Netherlands and Belgium. The tour schedule can be found at Whoever has the chance…

In dutch:

AALSMEER – Afgelopen zaterdagavond stond het kwartet rond trompettiste Ellister van der Molen in Café Bacchus. Zij speelde met slagwerker Thorsten Grau en bassist Jos Machtel werk van pianist en componist Jeremy Manasia, die het kwartet completeert.

De bezoekers werden verrast met elegante thema’s die deden denken aan het geluid van Miles Davis Quintet uit de jaren ’50. Jeremy Manasie verving in zijn eentje Canonball Adderly en Coltrane achter de piano.

Zijn spel is verwant aan dat van Monk: weloverwogen dissonant en zorgvuldig naast het dominante tempo en daardoor van een soms verbijsterende schoonheid. Dit maakt het werk van Manasia niet alleen elegant, maar ook spannend, omdat de de muziek niet voorspelbaar is.

Ellister en haar band spelen in de komende tijd in verschillende zalen in Nederland en België. Het tourschema staat op Wie de kans heeft …

review of our Aalsmeer concert

Amstelland Dichtbij May 27th, 2013

A lesson with Maarten van der Grinten

I felt I wanted some fresh ideas for playing and called dutch guitarist Maarten van der Grinten for a lesson. Today I met him at his place.

With a nice cappuccino in hand, I explain to Maarten that I think I get into the same patterns too much, and would like some nice fresh new input. Since he suggested I’d bring a tune that I am struggling with this very moment, I brought Punjab, by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. As it has been quite some time since Maarten had heard the tune we start with listening to it together.

Although it might be obvious to look at the tune chord by chord, it really can help to think from a certain key. There may be several options for some tunes and there isn’t always such thing as a “right”or “wrong”. For instance: when Paul Desmond wrote “In Your Own Sweet Way” he thought of it as in Eb whereas many people – including Miles – would see Bb as the tonic.

Looking at Pubjab, you might see Eb as tonic, but other keys might work as well. Probably B is even better.

Punjab Chord progression

Punjab Chord Progression

We play through the scheme a few times and listen again to the recording. We hope to find more clearness in the functions of the chords while listening. Then I ask Maarten about his opinion on rhythm in jazz. I remember him telling some interesting stuff on Tristano-subjects ten years ago.

The Rhythm of Tristano is very nice and interesting to experiment with. Back in the days I did a lot of research on this subject. Groups of three / five / six… it’s a vocabulary that you are not naturally trained to hear, so you have to practise it and calculate before it gets into your system.

The fact that we musicians don’t naturally hear it, means for the audience it’s even harder to understand and value the music. Also, to the audience all antimetric figures sound the same.
One thing I like to use in improvisation is a thematic approach. Not in the way some people would be repeating the same pattern over and over after having heard Sonny Rollins’ St Thomas Blues, but more in a sonataform-like way. If – for instance – you would take a rhythm change, you would expose your first theme in the first A. Meaning: you would start with some statement. Might be anything: a chord, a dissonant, a sound effect, a lick… as long as it’s recognisable. You start building from there. Second A you quote your first statement. In the bridge you step away from it maybe you give a hint about the next chorus or you just lay off. Then the last A again you refer to your first statement. Next chorus you force yourself to have a new theme to work from. This way a pattern gets a function, namely of pointing out the structure. Moreover, the thematical thinking makes you less of a chord-slave.

We play Punjab anew and I try to expose a new theme every chorus and let it come back after 8 bars. After this we get into a conversation about how jazz students are being pressed into a chords-only approach to jazz.

Generally speaking, you may say that values as “dynamics” and “melody” are under-exposed in jazz education. Whereas those are among the first things to be noticed by a listening audience. It would make sense to be more conscious of those things. Let’s start by putting the volume down in the first place and see where it goes from there.

A great way to train interaction is by playing a tune and deliberately going up and down in tempo, alternating the role of leader and follower. Or by playing “no song”, without establishing which chords there are to be played.

When you expect the other to follow you, make sure you do evaluate if he does. For instance: when you play an extra turnaround-tag at the end of a song, but the bassplayer continues the next chorus, you should notice before the bridge :) No one-way traffic allowed!

Maarten and I play “no song”, switching from minor to major, from swing to straight and back and modulating every once in a while.

You can see we have the natural tendency to think in 8-bar phrases. It is nice to play with this. Mozart for instance could go to the dominant and stay there for ages. There is even a book on the asymmetric structures in Mozart tunes.

Over all it is never a good idea to do something, just because you’re used to doing it that way. Step away from your habits!