Dutch based bassist Nick Kerkhoff will release his debut album as a leader titled “Here and Now” on the 14th of May, 2021. The albums title points not only to the ability to be “In the Moment” but also refers to the wish to document a moment in time. An honest sounding record which leaves the quartet plenty of room for limitless musical interaction and expression. The music presented on the album is new and fresh yet still rooted in the tradition.
Having graduated from the ArtEZ Conservatory in the Netherlands, Nick decided to spent most of his time on his own projects. “Over the years I’ve worked hard at developing my own style and I’ve focused a great deal on composing. I like working as a side-man but main focus is my own music” explained Nick. The majority of the material that appears on the album was purposely written for the album however there are a number of tracks that are based on older material that was still lying around in scratch form and re-worked.
When speaking of the line-up Nick explained. “I’ve known Jesse, and George for some time and Emanuele came highly recommended by a colleague. The first time we worked together there was an immediate click, so, when I decided to go into the studio to record the album I chose these players because I new they fitted perfectly from a stylistic perspective.”
The music presented on the album is new and fresh yet still rooted in the tradition. “I come from a musical family so I discovered jazz at a young age, while most of my friends were listening to pop music I was into Wayne Shorter and Pat Metheny for example.” The albums title “Here and Now” points not only to the ability to be “In the Moment” but also refers to the wish to document a moment in time. Nick explained “For a long time I felt like I was almost ready to record my debut album. But I came to realize I would never feel like I was fully ready if I wasn’t able to accept myself as the musician I am right now. For me this album is about being in the moment and going after what it is you want. We will always strive to be better tomorrow, but the beauty in this record is that it’s honest and it captures us as the musicians we are today.”
The album opens with the title track “Here and Now” that largely defines the album from a stylistic point and introduces the listener to what’s to come. “Almada” was written after a jam session and was inspired by a vocalist who sat in. “I had never met her before. She wasn’t the most skilled singer, but I was immediately touched by her voice. Very delicate and soft, but at the same time controlled. Right away I could picture her voice and my bass playing a unison melody. The minute I got home that night I wrote Almada. As it turned out, we never played together again so on the album the melody is doubled by Jesse on saxophone.”
Leading into this track is a solo bass piece appropriately titled “Intro”, originally meant as an improvised intro to Almada, once recorded it was agreed that it should actually become a fully fledged track in it’s own right. “Last Train Home” is a soulful track with a slight blues tinge. As Nick explained it’s “That feeling when you’re traveling back home after being away for a longer period of time.”
“Could Have Been You” as the title eludes to is a piece inspired by unrequited love. “This song is about two people connecting in a very special way, but the timing was just off. From time to time you still think of what could have been.” Interesting enough “Could have been you” appears again on the album as a reprise. Nick explained the reason for this as follows: “The time signature and tempo is different compared to the original, but if you were to align both tunes, the main chords will have the exact same duration and therefore will fit perfectly. It stands for running into that same person for the second time in your life, but again – the timing is off. The situation is like the song. At first it appears to be different but the essence remains the same.”
It was mentioned above that some of the material on this album was written some time ago but re-worked for the album. “Siluae”, is one of these tunes and has a stormy origin, Nick explains the back story to this composition. “I once played an open air gig with some friends in Germany. We had to end the set early because of an unforeseen storm. I have never been in a storm like that. The biggest trees came down and the streets and cars were filled with water. Some people got hurt and there were even a few who aren’t able to retell it. This is one of the first songs I ever wrote and I dedicated it to this incident.”
“Leaves” was inspired by Nick’s Grandfather. “The song wrote itself when I lost my grandfather who also was my best friend. Writing this song was the first time I reached this level of expression within music. I also experienced on a greater scale how therapeutic and healing music can be. This one is for him.”
Closing out the album is “The Voice of a New Generation”. The tune starts out with an intense conversation between drums and saxophone, reflecting two different generations. The answer, the new generation has the responsibility to bring change.
With “Here and Now”, Nick Kerkhoff has created an album that not only documents this current period in his career but also sets the tone for all that will come. It’s clear when listening to this album that Nick has staked his claim as one of the most innovative bassists on the scene today.
“Here and Now” will be available on all streaming and download platforms as well as on CD and limited edition 180gram vinyl.
The album is set for release on CD, Vinyl and on all digital platforms and features nine original tracks, all written and arranged by Kerkhoff. The individual stylistic approach of Jesse Schilderink (Sax), Emanuele Pellegrini (Piano) and George Panaite (Drums) give Nick’s well thought-out compositions a surprising twist.
Listen to the first single: Here
For more on Nick: Click Here