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History of Harbour Jazzband

This Dutch traditional jazz orchestra was founded in November 1956 in Rotterdam-Schiebroek by trumpet player Jaap van Velzen. Within a few months, clarinet player Ferdi Meijer, who would play in the orchestra for over 30 years, took on the musical direction and he is therefore also seen as the founder of the band. The Harbour Jazzband has been focused on jazz music in the so-called Chicago style from the very beginning. In the Netherlands, the musicians actually focused on the Hague School, in which orchestras such as the Dutch Swing College Band, the Dixieland Pipers and the Down Town Jazz Band were the mainstays.

Already in 1962 and 1963 the band traveled to the United States. In the following years many trips to and concerts abroad would follow.

The first group of musicians with which recordings were made consisted of Harry Jamin, Karel Bonneur, Ferdi Meijer, Leo van der Kruk, Willem de Graaf, Maarten van den Dool, Ab Haverkamp and Wim van den Toorn. In 1970 Wim van Zoeren, Leon Monné and Paul Beuger succeeded the earlier generation: in that year a single (Please Sir) appeared as well as an LP (Just Hot).

With Ligthart, who also acted as manager, trips to Japan, Indonesia and Thailand followed. In Japan (see video on this page), the Harbour Jazzband was the first jazz group in Europe. Also in the United States and Canada occurred again. A tour in the former GDR was followed by two three-week trips by the former Soviet Union (1984 and 1987), with operations in Armenia, Ukraine, Siberia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In 1991, Ligthart was forced to leave the orchestra and the management was in the hands of Flip Robers. Since 2007 the Harbour Jazzband plays in the style of Eddie Condon.

Current line up

In October 2017 the band made a full-length record with Menno Daams as guest on cornet, Flip Robers trombone, Hans Verheul clarinet and tenor sax, Jan Wouter Alto clarinet and baritone sax, Matthijs Willering banjo and guitar, Ton Hameeteman piano, Ludo Deckers bass and Raymond van der Hooft drums .

Videos of live performances over the years

The oldest film is a recording of the Japanese television of 1978. The line up here is: Ernst Metman tpt, Ferdi Meijer cl, Leo van der Kruk cl/as, Flip Robers tbn, Arie Ligthart banjo gtr, Bas Schop bass and Wim van der Toorn drums.

Here is a selection of performances over the years as to be find on Yoytube.