Born: July 20, 1957 Primary Instrument: Piano
Jazz is deep but you are allowed to have fun, right?
Almost Human (2012) is the third CD of Talking Cows, after Bovinity (2006) and Dairy Tales (2008).
Talking Cows was founded in 2004 by pianist Robert Jan Vermeulen and saxophonist Frans Vermeerssen. There was a bit more to it then just two musicians who liked each other’s playing. Until then they had never played together: they came from totally different areas of the Dutch jazz scene.
The idea came up to make the group ‘a celebration of differences’, so that the different backgrounds became the subject of the group’s material. In drummer Yonga Sun and bass player Dion Nijland they found the perfect rhythm section; they are very creative musicians with an open mind and experience in playing different styles.
In the ensuing seven years, the group presented concerts in clubs and at festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. They made numerous radio recordings, did some TV appearances and recorded 2 CDs. There’s been a great deal of positive feedback from audiences and press, and Talking Cows is now considered a leading exponent of Dutch jazz music. The videos about farmers, cows and jazz music in a cowshed that appeared on their website have also been received enthusiastically.
Almost Human demonstrates how the group has developed into a solid, flexible and original ensemble. While at first the different style elements were rather distinct, they have now merged into a new blend. The compositions by Vermeerssen and Vermeulen are still connected to the rich history of jazzmusic, from blues, rhythm changes, Ellington and improvised music to funk. But the group gives this music a typical ‘Talking Cows sound’.
Awards:on the list of 10 best jazz records in the Netherlands 2009/Volkskrant (nationwide newspaper)
...establishing irrefutably that Talking Cows - Almost Human is not a tome of nursery rhymes, but rather top-shelf, aged, prime cut, rawhide-tough jazz music, played by a very serious, talented, committed, professional quartet of musicians. (CJ Bond-Jazmusic.com)
Jazz from Holland, that’s exactly what Talking Cows wants to offer. This quartet has a typical Dutch view of tradition, coloured with humour, spontaneous interaction and the willingness to open up the structures of the music. The compositions …. are based on catchy, often hummable themes, that are fragmented and defragmented and flirt with chaos before taking on recognizable features once more. (Frank van Herk/Volkskrant 2010)
In the best tradition of the Netherlands’ jazz scene, the playing is excellent, the humour front and centre and the joy of the production quite catching. You just know that this group is one you want to see live. (Stuart Derdein, The Chronicle/Vancouver)
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