Ben van Dijk's unique style glows throughout this recording. The combination of Ben, his Thein bass trombone and the "van Maarschalkerweerd" organ, played in a transparent and beautifully registered way, by Henry le Comte, is a wonderful combination. Every track reflects Ben's warmth, friendliness and musicianship even more than his previous recordings.
The idea for this recording came from Henri le Comte. Henri is solo-clarinettist of Ben van Dijk's orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. De Graaf had made a similar recording on clarinet with piano, called "Gradagio". After hearing Ben, de Graaf suggested making this CD with organ accompaniment.
While the familiar music is predominant, Ben's musical interpretations have a sense of pulse that gives each piece a feeling of cohesion and flow.
Although the music is mostly melodic and not technical in nature, Ben's interpretations demonstrate his complete mastery of the bass trombone with his fluid transitions from range to range and style to style, keeping a quality of tone and technique that is unparalleled. Often it is almost imperceptible when he slips from octave to octave. His tasteful use of over four octaves in this recording is inspiring.
These recordings were made in two evenings without any electronic "soaping up" or tweaking, and are intended to sound as if the listener is sitting in a resonant room, just a few feet in front of Ben.
This recording is a most valuable learning tool in today's world of virtuosic, technical music where so often melodies are not perceived to be as important as technical passages. This recording is of particular interest anyone interested in solo playing and developing their musicianship. It is a must for all trombonists and brass players and is truly a joy to listen to.
By Newell Sheridan