In August 2006, while finishing work on the London Session, I was invited to lay down a soundtrack for a documentary on legendary Dutch Writer Remco Campert. An interesting challenge. Apart from being one of Holland’s most respected authors Campert is also a big jazz fan. He has often featured music and musicians in his work over the last fifty years. As a popular columnist on one of Holland’s leading dailies he would occasionaly refer to concerts and records he likes. He even came to a few of my gigs- so naturally I was excited about taking part in the film.
Campert is one of a group of Dutch writers known as the Vijftigers, basically because they came onto the scene in the 1950s. That seemed like an appropiate starting point. How about doing a session connected to the postwar music scene here in Holland? There are some incredible Dutch players from that era whow I’d love to record.
When the rushes of the documentary came in, a whole new dimension emerged. Obviously this was no lighthearted jaunt down memory lane; this was a highly personal film in which Campert
looked back on his life as a child, a husband and a father, revealing a side of the writer most people have never before. A nostalgic soundtrack would have seemed shallow: the film needed something more dynamic.
With Gideon van Gelder, Sean Fasciani and Joost Kroon, three of Holland’s finest young jazz musicians, we soon found ourselves in a totally different musical world.
There’s a poem by Campert in which he describes how jazz musicians encouraged him to write poetry. He wrote it in 1962. Over the years, he has inspired many people in his own right. Not least our band.
Recording this soundtrack led us into fascinating new directions. The original music was fifteen minutes long. We went back to the studio in July 2007 to extend the material and record some extra tracks. I love the way the whole thing fits together and hope the feel of Campert’s poetry comes across. It’s best heard while walking home from the pub at night. That’s what it’s made for.
released November 16, 2007
All compositions by Benjamin Herman
'Lamento' original poem written by Remco Campert
Benjamin Herman - alto saxophone, dictaphone
Gideon van Gelder - piano
Sean Fasciani - double bass (tracks 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13)
Kasper Kalf - double bass (tracks 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 12)
Joost Kroon - drums
Remco Campert - typewriter (tracks 6, 7) and voice (track 13)
Tracks 2, 10 and 11 taken from the original soundtrack for the documentary 'Tijd Duurt Een Mens Lang' by Thorvald Kleve, Jeroen Kostense and S. Rozendaal