Preview: Kit Downes / Ben van Gelder at the Vortex. 22nd May

Kit Downes writes about his upcoming gig at the Vortex on 22nd May with saxophonist Ben van Gelder.

I first heard Ben van Gelder through former London based pianist Con Cellar regular John Escreet (now making big waves in NYC) who had been playing with Ben since the time he arrived in New York from Holland in 2006.

I heard a few bootlegs of Ben playing standards (on alto saxophone) and was blown away by the fluency and creativity of his lines and the depth and control of his sound. He studied with Dick Oatts for a while and you can hear that lineage in his playing, but it’s married with something very personal and unique – as well as an amazing concept of space and breath.

About two years ago we did a few gigs together in the UK after I invited him to play at the Vortex (and a couple of other UK clubs) with my trio. We enjoyed it and wanted to repeat it again, so we will be playing standards together (with me on piano, Tom Farmer on Bass and James Maddren on drums) at the Vortex on May 22nd, and I’m very excited about it.

See above for a video of van Gelder playing with some other amazing musicians.


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