2008 Taichung Jazz Festival Headliners Series: The Saskia Laroo Band
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Ann Lee
Hailed by some as a European female version of Miles Davis, Dutch jazz trumpeter Saskia Laroo and her band will be treating Taiwanese audiences to their own experimental "nu jazz" or "body music"--a lively, very dance-able multicultural mix of bebop, hip hop, club, rap and other musical styles. Saskia's creative, vibrant mix of music has been formed over 30-plus years of jazz trumpet experience and appeals to a wide audience of listeners expanding beyond normal jazz aficionados.
Her funky music, complete with rap vocals, catchy rhythms and great solos, have been showcased on five albums, including her debut acid jazz release in 1994, "It's Like Jazz", which was followed by "Bodymusic" and, most recently, "Really Jazzy" in 2008. However, she also takes breaks from avante-garde styles to focus on more traditional forms, including her 1999 "Jazzkia" album, a tribute to Miles Davis. If Saskia's accomplishments on the trumpet weren't enough, she has expanded her musical horizons over the years to include bass, guitar, alto and soprano recorder, alto sax, piano, organ and comet (pocket trumpet).
Given her range, it's no great surprise that Saskia has performed with an equally diverse variety of leading artists from inside and outside jazz circles at major events in almost every continent, from the North Sea Jazz Festival in her home country to the Montreux Jazz Festival, Japan's Sunset Festival, and Atlanta Jazz Festival. Her co-performers have included George Coleman, Steve Davis, Hans Dulfer, Teddy Edwards, Essiet Essiet, Roy Hargrove, Slide Hampton (also performing at this year's Taichung Jazz festival), Wynton Marsalis, Jean Toots Thielemans, Yellow Jackets, George Benson, Candy Dulfer, Rosa King, Kool Ace, Blixx, 100% Isis, Cinema Royale, Franky D, Dimitri, Ken Ishi, and Maestro.
For her first visit to the Taichung Jazz Festival, she will be accompanied by her band, formed in 1994 and originally known as The Laroo Colour, consisting of Warren Byrd on piano, Daniel Gueli on bass, Roald Bechers on drums, and Firestorm on rap.
The 2008 Taichung Jazz Festival will take place from Saturday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 26 at Taichung's Peoples' Park and along the adjacent JingGuo Boulevard Parkway. The Saskia Laroo Band will perform on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the J1 Stage along the Parkway. For more information, check www.jazzfestival.com.tw