mike roelofs
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mike roelofs

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'No Surrounings' - Mike Roelofs Quartet, 'Dialogin' - Mike Roelofs & Ryan Carniaux, 'Viewmusic' - Mike Roelofs Trio, 'One On One' - Down South Project



Mike Roelofs
Artist biography

Mike has studied the piano under the guidance of Irv Rochlin and Frank Giebels at the conservatory in Maastricht, situated in the south of The Netherlands. Frank Giebels summarizes his talent as 'intuition is his strongest tool'. When asking Mike himself about his music, you will get a different but also characteristic answer, namely 'you shouldn't talk too much about music.' 
Mikes career gains momentum when he and the Mike Roelofs Trio (Jonas Burgwinkel - drums, Uli Winz - bass) win the Concours Céramique in Maastricht in 2001. The prize money is being invested in a  debut album: Viewmusic. This album is recorded by Max Bolleman in Studio 44 and is produced on their  own. The pieces are characterized by open, lyrical parts with often classical harmonies. Jazzmozaiek comments: 'The trio demonstrates an already rare homogeneity. (...) Fresh and uncomplicated  is the approach of  the material that very ambitiously contains 90% Mike Roelofs originals. (...) A debut that counts.' Dutch writer Sante Brun about the CD presentation of Viewmusic in Carnaval du Jazz, Heerlen: 'And when Mike Roelofs agrees I would like to note: 'Such atmosphere, such jazz. They also know how to keep me mesmerized  with a light latin rhythm. (...) During the evening I realized that this lean pianist, bended over the piano, is just one third my age. All this ripeness, what will it bring?'
A lot Mike composes himself. He works up his ideas on an old baby grand piano at home. Musically he learns by playing much but also by listening much. Mike: 'Listening to others is one of my most important  ways to grow. I always tried to play everything by ear and I still prefer to play that way. I’m not trying to copy a certain style, I’m always searching for my own sound and vocabulary.’
Again his way of doing things has success. The Mike Roelofs Quartet (Jonas Burgwinkel - drums, Christophe Devisscher - bass, Frank Sackenheim - saxophones) wins the Frisian Crossover Competition in Leeuwarden in 2002. The Mike Roelofs Quartet is the successor of the Mike Roelofs Trio. The jury writes  the  following about this victory: 'The Mike Roelofs Quartet gave us perfectly round examples of its abilities in 20 minutes. There were a lot of things going on on stage: a pianist that lets his piano fall away at crucial moments, a tenor saxophonist with 'presence' and a beautiful tone. The drummer, who performed with trio Trix earlier that evening, proved to have mastered the drive of Elvin Jones; a great surprise after his crystal-clear performance with Trix, and an elegant artistic choice. (...) That the quartet had more to offer than repeating the great heroes they proved in their steaming finale. With an uplifting sense of soul, and a bit of humoristic kitsch, this concert came to a swinging up-tempo ending; the strong compositions  together gave the concert a forceful current curve. A clear story had been told, with excellent dynamics.'

After doing some concerts with trumpet player Ryan Carniaux, who was living in Maastricht, Mike decides to do a duo album: ‘Dialogin’ recorded in Harlingen 2003. Mike: ‘I love small settings such as trumpet and piano and I really enjoy working with Ryan. It was a really challenging project. We definitely learned a lot from doing it.’ Mike: ‘After performing with just the two of us, we were wondering what it would sound like to arrange some of the Dialogin material for a larger band.’ Swiss drummer Samuel Duehsler, double bass player Caspar van Meel and Ryan’s brother and excellent saxophone player Brendan Carniaux are added. Mike and Ryan decide to write all new material for this band, which is recorded at two live concerts in Holland in oktober 2004.
For now, they decide to play under the name: Mike Roelofs’ Band.
Mike doesn't only play jazz. In 2003 he was also part of the soul-pop-funk band Mo'Jones that played at the North Sea Jazz Festival that year. In 2004 he is touring throughout Germany with Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention/Plainsong) and Curacao with his band ‘Down South’. Momentarily when he is not on stage, he works in the studio. As a producer he worked with Arno Adams (who sings pop music in his native Dutch dialect, 'Limburgs') 'Down South Project'. (Funky popmusic with jazz and African influences) and BJ Baartmans (respected Dutch singer/songwriter).