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In April 2003, twenty-five years after his first piano solo CD, a new studio solo CD finally is appearing. It was recorded in November 2002 at Radio Bremen broadcasting hall. The main theme is the explainable, mathematical and recurrent aspect of music, inspired by Gödel, Escher, and Bach, who traced this formula back to its origins in mathematics, painting and music, respectively.The title of the new CD is AXIOMA (JARO 4250-2) – also an anniversary album for JARO, namely our 150th release.
Jasper van’t Hof was born in Enschede, Holland, on June 30th, 1947. Supported by his father, a jazz trumpeter, and his mother, a classically trained singer, his great interest in music became evident at an early age. The groundwork was laid by private piano lessons. At the age of fourteen, he wrote his first compositions and became increasingly interested in jazz. His parents would have liked to send him to a conservatory, but Jasper van’t Hof preferred to play live. At nineteen, he was already participating in various jazz festivals and raking in prizes.
He celebrated his first great European success with the band Association P.C., founded in 1969 by Jasper van’t Hof along with the Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois and the German guitarist Toto Blanke. The bassist was Sigi Busch. The band produced a synthesis of jazz and rock never before heard in such high quality and acclaimed as a sensation at the Berlin Jazztage of 1971.
“Eighty percent of Association P.C. was electronics“, Jasper recalls, and he accordingly soon belonged to the circle of jazz musicians interested in exploring the sound possibilities newly created by the electronic instru- mentarium. This he undertook in a formation founded in 1973 with Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine, the group’s name – Pork Pie – alluding to an old Lester Young number. Of the two excellent albums that came out of this collaboration, the second one, Transistory, was dedica- ted to the bassist Peter Trunk, who had died in a car accident in New York in 1974. It was also very much in the Trunk spirit that Pork Pie merged the technical-artistic virtuosity of jazz with the dynamic extroversion of rock.
Jasper van’t Hof recorded his first solo album, The Self Kicker, in 1976, following the dissolution of Pork Pie, and it was already a clear avowal of faith to fully developed melody and precisely conceived music; today it is still one of Jasper van’t Hof’s favourite albums. This period also witnessed a number of duo contacts with musicians like Archie Shepp, Manfred Schoof, Wolfgang Dauner, Zbigniew Seifert, Toto Blanke, Stu Martin, Alphonse Mouzon, and Bob Malach. During those years, Jasper van’t Hof used to perform as a soloist: as a keyboarder with “all the works”, but often alone at the concert grand as well.
Interestingly and curiously enough, the readers of a jazz magazine elected Jasper van’t Hof as “Europe’s second-best synthesiser player” in 1978, despite the fact that he had played piano, e-piano and organ exclusively until that time – albeit frequently connected to various kinds of electrical effect devices.
In 1980, he engaged several of his duo partners for the formation Eye-Ball, namely the French violinist Didier Lockwood, the American saxopho- nist Bob Malach, the Italian drummer and percussionist Aldo Romano, and the Danish bassist Bo Stief.
The year 1984 marked the founding of the Afro-European formation Pili-Pili. Their first album was a major success, above all in the dance and pop scene. With this band, Jasper van’t Hof primarily worked around the German speaking parts of Europe.
Pili-Pili’s success has taken Jasper van’t Hof on eighteen concert tours to date.
Under the title Operanoia, Pork Pie underwent a revival in 1992 with Philip Catherine, Charlie Mariano and Don Alias.
Jasper van’t Hof has published about seventy albums almost exclusively with German record companies. Important examples are Canossa with Ernie Watts and Blue with Bob Malach and
Wayne Kranz. It was not until recently – on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday – that major tribute was paid to him in Holland for the first time, in form of the renowned Bird Award. The two organ CDs recorded in Italy two years ago, Un Mondo Illusorio, received wide recognition, and in the meantime Jasper van’t Hof has played the church organ at well-known classical music festivals.